WARWICK, RI — The Warwick School Committee decided not to talk about hiring an assistant superintendent Tuesday night, but two women had different ideas during the public comment portion of the meeting.
The meeting began with the School Committee electing its officers, re-instating Karen Bachus as its chairperson, Judy Cobden as Vice Chair and Nathan Cornell as secretary.
Next, Bachus explained the body would postpone discussion of items three and four, concerning the hiring of an assistant superintendent/executive director of programs, until Jan. 23 at 5:30 p.m. at the School Committee’s usual meeting spot, Warwick Veterans Middle School.
At the end of the meeting, Superintendent Philip Thornton said the new position would be “revenue neutral.”
Nonetheless, the issue was a non-starter for Warwick Teachers Union President Darlene Netcoh and teacher Tracy McDermott.
“I’m glad that you tabled the items that you tabled,” Netcoh said, noting the positions proposed in an organizational tree submitted with the meeting’s documents are not budgeted for.
“Creating and filling positions in the middle of a budget cycle makes you look bad. Don’t do it,” Netcoh said, warning that the move would justify criticism the School Department has received from the public and the City Council.
McDermott was skeptical of the financial wisdom of hiring a new administration member. “Six months ago, we were in dire straights. We had no money. We were laying off people. We were cutting money left and right. The city was in dire straights and we were all going to wind up in receivership. And here we are, hiring an assistant superintendent.”
At the start of the meeting, Bachus introduced recognition citations for three successful Warwick sports teams:
- Warwick Veterans Middle School, Girls Soccer Team, State Champions
- Pilgrim High School, Boys JV Soccer Team, State Champions
- Pilgrim High School, Football Team, Division III, Super Bowl Champions
During the middle of the meeting, the School Committee heard presentations on Absenteeism from Thornton and a survey of the districts’s high school block schedule, then unanimously approved:
- The district’s monthly fiscal report by Finance Director Anthony Ferrucci: Warwick-School-Committee-01-14-19- Fy2020 Montly Fiscal Report
- A bid award to American Safety Programs and Training, Inc. for $7,960 to provide EMT instruction at the WACTC. The instruction will be paid for through a grant: Warwick-School-Committee-01-14-19-Bid Award-WACTC, EMT Cerfitication Trainer & Warwick-School-Committee-01-14-19-Contract Award-BOND Project Architect & Survey Fees, 7 Playgrounds
- A bid award to Sacoccio & Associates for design of seven playgrounds for $19,467 and for four additional playgrounds for $40,920: Warwick-School-Committee-01-14-19-Contract Award-BOND Project, Architect & Engineering Fees, 4 Additional Playgrounds