WARWICK – The Warwick School Committee hired Saam Architecture of Boston to create a Warwick high school master plan for $111,300 Thursday night.
Saam Architecture will assess Pilgrim High School, Toll Gate High School, and the Warwick Career & Technical Center and their structural and educational impact on the district’s long-term educational goals.
Robert Littlefield, director of special education, told School Superintendent Phil Thornton the Educational Planner Bid Review Committee met on Nov. 26 to consider three bids submitted for the work.
“After careful consideration of the three bids, it is the unanimous recommendation that the bid be awarded to Saam Architecture of Boston,” Littlefield noted. “Saam stood out to the committee for their experience in educational planning and the high profile afforded the educational planners in their company structure.”
According to the RFP (Request for Proposals) sent out to the bidders: “The Plan will address short and long term District planning, both educationally and with regard to facilities, and provide the School Committee with information ranking the priorities and consideration of future facility investments and improvements in each of the plans proposed.”
The RFP also noted national expertise in best educations practices and standards were required to guide the District in its decision-making.
Skills the RFP sought to execute the assessment and plan included: research-based knowledge of best models for achieving educational goals and outcomes; master planning in facilities assessment; space planning; potential analysis/conceptual design, preliminary cost estimating, and cost/benefit analysis for options including but not limited to construction/new site acquisition, remodeling, change in use, and/or maximizing effective use of all facilities.
Karen Bachus, school committee chairperson, thanked the Warwick City Council for allocating $150,000 for the consultant.
Bachus said she was “optimistic” about the prospects of either renovating the high schools or building a new school.
Committee sets new hiring policy
The committee also approved a new policy regarding employee hiring. The policy reads, in part: “The District is committed to empowering the superintendent of schools with the care and supervision of all schools within the District, including the appointment of principals and personnel at each school, as well as the appointment of administrators and other personnel not assigned to individual schools within the District, pursuant to R.I. Gen. Laws.”
Member Nathan Cornell said he was concerned that incidents of “nepotism and favoritism would rise due to this change.”
Member David Testa said he had “serious reservations” about the policy, noting “it puts superintendents in a bind.”
“We have the power of the purse strings,” said Bachus, saying that nepotism in the hiring process has never been a problem.
Committee adopts discipline policy for intentional school property damage
Another policy adopted stipulates disciplinary measures for students who cause damage to school property. That policy reads, in part:
It is each student’s responsibility to show respect for all district property. The Warwick School Committee charges each student in the schools of the District with responsibility for the proper care of school property and the school supplies and equipment entrusted to his/her use.
Students who cause damage to or deface school property are subject to disciplinary measures, and they or their parents may be financially liable for such damages. Notice of the District’s intent will be provided annually in the student/parent handbook.
The Warwick School Committee authorizes restitution for the loss, damage or destruction of school equipment, technology, apparatus, musical instruments, library material, textbooks and for damage to school buildings.
The policy is partly response to reports from teachers about students who have damaged their school-issued Chromebooks. Bachus said she does not believe the new policy is too harsh.
“Some of the damage I’ve seen (done) to those computers is absolutely intentional,” Bachus said. “(The students) should be charged.”