Either Way, the Children Suffer (but One Way Is the Way Out)

There’s creeping desperation in West Warwick:

The Town Council and School Committee agreed to open the lines of communication as part of a settlement of the Caruolo lawsuit the schools filed against the town in April, which seeks a $1.1-million addition to its $49.4-million budget. …
… the first step, Thomas said, is addressing the schools budget. This year, the School Department is projecting a $4-million deficit. The projections increase in coming years until they reach $12 million in fiscal 2012.
School Committee member James A. Williamson said the schools may have to get creative with ways to save — or raise money. It may propose charging teachers a parking fee, increasing the distance students have to walk to school to cut down on busing, or cutting sports programs. If that doesn’t work, Williamson said, he’ll propose the schools refuse to comply with some state or federal mandates that don’t directly affect student learning. “It sounds drastic, but if we’re to a point where if all else fails, and if there’s something we can do that won’t have a tremendous impact on students, we have to consider trying it out,” Williamson said. “It may be time to get bold, and try some things we’ve never tried before.”

If the schools begin cutting programs or making children walk longer distances in the cold, it adversely affects the students. If the schools begin to squeeze the overly remunerated union teachers, it adversely affects the students by way of unconscionable labor actions such as work to rule. At least the latter might lead to changes that can actually salvage a decent education for future classes; the former merely accepts a few more inches into the quicksand.
The single greatest mandate that towns must begin to fight is unions’ legalized monopoly of public education.

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15 years ago

Justin, I agree with you wholeheartedly that towns must begin to fight the unions’ legalized monopoly. It seems …check that… there is a stranglehold on each town by the union.
I would think any changes would have to happen at the state level. There’s no support at the GA level to do anything about it.
Now that state aid will probably be cut to the bone, the stakes become even higher. How would you fight this monopoly if you were in a position to do so.
Thank you for your candid response. Love the blog

15 years ago

Williamson must be a complete fool – yet somehow he just got re-elected! Busing? Parking lot fees? Sports? Why not throw in a bake sale and car wash for good measure? Jeez can’t the guy pronounce the words “teacher contract”? What a pathetic official, he dances all around the real problem, afraid to even whisper it to anyone, while blustering of nonsensical solutions.
Good luck West Warwick. With leaders like this guy you are surely in for a long, protracted, misguided solution to your budget woes.

Tom W
Tom W
15 years ago

Mr. WIlliams must be getting cataracts. Obviously he doesn’t see that big elephant in the room with NEARI painted on its side.
Rhode Island is collapsing, incremental bit by incremental bit. Read (or reread) “Atlas Shrugged” if you want a preview of how this will keep playing out.
Those that can leave are (or making plans to), and more and more productive people are deciding that whether the “can” or cannot, they must leave for their economic health and for their children’s future.
Nothing unique here. We’re very much like Michigan, upstate New York and the rest of the Rustbelt states (which also share long-time Democrat rule and union domination). We even have the rusty, unmaintained collapsing bridges to prove that we’re “Rustbelt.”

15 years ago

Pardon my parochial school upbringing but…wait a minute. Let’s take a look at my parochial school upbringing.
I attended poor parochial schools, Notre Dame Elementary and Sacred Heart Academy in Central Falls. Our sports programs consisted of this: who brought the ball to school that day and the cooperation of the students to work on fundraisers and the annual chocolate bar sales. Period. That’s it. Our sports bus at Sacred Heart Academy barely ran but it served the purpose. No new busses every year, no annual fees to Laidlaw, no pensions either.
Students WALKED to school were not fat, students that attended these schools were very clear of their purpose at these schools; to learn, that is it, period. No day care centers for kids who got themselves pregnant, no at all. Since when is it the role of schools to raise someone else mistakes?
Our teachers lead by purpose and conviction. Teachers in public school are afraid to open their mouth and go against the status quo.
Turn schools back into teaching centers like they should be and REQUIRE that parents send a better grade of kid to these schools.
Maybe the kids will actually bring a bat and ball to school so they can ‘play’ later until their parents pick them OR they can actually WALK home and burn off the fat that plaques their lazy butts.

15 years ago

Roland has it right. What we really need is seperation of school and state. Hello vouchers, goodbye Crowley, Walsh and Reback.

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