West Warwick Next in Line

The school committee in West Warwick appears mainly to be doing the bare minimum to support a Caruolo suit for more money from the town, but it may be headed down the road behind East Providence soon:

The performance audit, commissioned by the town as a part of the Caruolo lawsuit proceedings from the last fiscal year, found that most substantial savings — $14.67 million — in the School Department budget would require concessions from the teachers union or waivers from state and federal mandates.
“These are recommendations for the future and going forward,” said consultant Salvatore Augeri. “They could cut some supplies for a couple thousand, but we’re not talking millions right now.”
But $3.5 million is what the School Department says it needs to finish the remainder of this budget year. Last month, the committee sent the town a letter requesting an additional $3.5 million in operating funds and school officials have authorized their lawyer to file a lawsuit seeking the additional money once all other avenues are exhausted.

Is “the future and going forward” anything like “infinity and beyond”? It seems to me that the school committee has to stop toying around. It isn’t enough to publish a list possibilities like “eliminating 16 teachers by requiring the maximum number of students allowed in each class by contract, and cutting 23 other positions that are not required by the state.” The committee ought to be bringing that to the teachers’ union and explaining that it will happen in the absence of deep concessions.

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thinkaboutit
thinkaboutit
12 years ago

Precisely.
I’m still baffled that a school can obligate itself to contracts that it can’t afford and then sue the city for more money. Am I missing something?

pitcher
pitcher
12 years ago

Or what’s even more baffling is:
a) a committee can agree to a contract when they have zero control of the income
b) the committee who *does* have control of the income usually just rubber stamps the contract
c) the committee who does have control over the income has no seat at the bargaining table for the contract
d) the chair of the school committee who agrees to the contract gets to hide behind the city council chair and mayor/town manager who has to set the rates and ask for more money from the taxpayers to fund the contract that they had no hand in negotiating.
What we really need is to separate the school department from the rest of the town as far as taxes go and have the local school committee send out their own tax bills, so everyone in town knows how much of their money is going to the school department and then the school committee and its chair is directly accountable for the amount of money they need and will probably keep this in their mind during negotiations after hearing from the people. Right now, property taxes just go into a black hole that no one knows much about how it is distributed. Force the school committees to be a little more accountable for their negotiations and then we might see things get a little tougher at contract time.

Ragin' Rhode Islander
Ragin' Rhode Islander
12 years ago

If you’re the teachers union and you control the Democrats who control the General assembly what better way to keep the taxpayer spigot wide-open than to separate the ability to give away the store to the teachers unions from the responsibility to raise the funds, and then create a Caroulo suit mechanism by which those who gave away the store can sue the city or town for more money, yet prohibit the judge from questioning or changing the teachers union contract.
You don’t think that this Rhode Island system was by accident, do you?

Will
12 years ago

“I’m still baffled that a school can obligate itself to contracts that it can’t afford and then sue the city for more money. Am I missing something?”
Welcome to the insanity of the well-intentioned Caruolo Act, promoted by former Majority Leader George Caruolo.
The other problem, was that in many communities for many years, school committees were dominated by people who directly or indirectly derived benefits by those very same unions, so they had no problem making unaffordable deals.

Mike
Mike
12 years ago

You don’t think that this Rhode Island system was by accident, do you?
Posted by Ragin’ Rhode Islander at January 7, 2009 4:05 PM
Uh, …..no. But I’m sure the fact that most school committee’s are dominated NEA funded relatives of teachers is just a coincidence.
LOL.

Mike
Mike
12 years ago

You don’t think that this Rhode Island system was by accident, do you?
Posted by Ragin’ Rhode Islander at January 7, 2009 4:05 PM
Uh, …..no. But I’m sure the fact that most school committee’s are dominated NEA funded relatives of teachers is just a coincidence.
LOL.

Mike
Mike
12 years ago

You don’t think that this Rhode Island system was by accident, do you?
Posted by Ragin’ Rhode Islander at January 7, 2009 4:05 PM
Uh, …..no. But I’m sure the fact that most school committee’s are dominated NEA funded relatives of teachers is just a coincidence.
LOL.

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