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Warwick Schools Cuts: Committee Eyes $6.3M Trim

[CREDIT: Rob Borkowski] Warwick Public Schools Administration at 69 Draper Ave. The Warwick School Committee will consider $6 million in Warwick Schools cuts Wednesday.

[CREDIT: Rob Borkowski] Warwick Public Schools Administration at 69 Draper Ave. The Warwick School Committee will consider $6 million in Warwick Schools cuts Wednesday.
[CREDIT: Rob Borkowski] Warwick Public Schools Administration at 69 Draper Ave. The Warwick School Committee will consider $6 million in Warwick Schools cuts Wednesday.
WARWICK, RI — School Committee members meet Wednesday with $6.3 million in Warwick Schools cuts from their $181.4 million FY21 budget request ahead of them, a little less than the $8 million cut goal they set themselves in April.

School Committee members have had 10 weeks to consider where the cuts will come from, but teaching staff aren’t likely to be on the block. Teachers have to be notified of layoffs before June 1, said School Committee member David Testa.

The budget story so far

At the committee’s May 6 meeting, members cut $3.6 million from Thornton’s $181.4 million proposal.  That left the school department’s budget request at $177,886,400, still an increase of $8,347,732 over the FY20 budget.

The committee had considered cutting $8 million from the budget during their April 29 meeting, including eliminating technology integration specialists. Following widespread opposition from parents and teachers, the School Committee voted against the seven proposed staff cuts.

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The $181.4 million figure is an increase of $11,980,824 over the FY20 budget, according to Anthony Ferrucci, Director of Finance and Operations.

The Committee ultimately passed the $181.4 million budget at the May 6 meeting. The final School Committee request was sent to the Warwick City Council that Friday.

By the time the budget reached the Warwick City Council Budget hearings in late May, Mayor Joseph J. Solomon had added an additional $2 million for the schools, which the Council left unchanged.

Back to the cutting board

The School Committee now has to cut $6.3 million of the $8 million it set out to cut from their budget in late April.

“They [The Warwick City Council] passed the resolution saying if more federal (stimulus) money comes or more state money comes, they would look to give us more,” Testa said Monday. “We can’t budget to a promise, we have to budget to what we actually have.”

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“We don’t have enough positions to cut,” said committee chairperson Karen Bachus on May 6. “We don’t have enough stuff to cut. If this city doesn’t put education first, then the city will continue to spiral downwards.”

Virtual meeting attendance

Anyone wishing to make a public comment for the meeting Wednesday may do so by emailing written comments to publiccomment@warwickschools.org.

The  teleconferenced meeting will begin at 6 p.m. and can be viewed on the Warwick School Committee’s YouTube channel.

The next Warwick School Committee meeting will be Tuesday, July 14.

Warwick-School-Committee-Agenda-June 24-2020

Joe Siegel
Author: Joe Siegel

Joe Siegel is a regular contributing writer for WarwickPost.com. His reporting has appeared in The Sun Chronicle in Attleboro and EDGE.