Reducing the Schools
With other contributors covering the state of the state and the hoopla in East Providence, I’m at the Tiverton School Committee meeting, to which I arrived in the midst of Superintendent Bill Rearick’s description of the various cuts to come for the next budget — you know, the one that increased by about $150,000 when the committee approved the latest teachers’ contract.
Personnel reductions to come:
- 0.5 middle school special ed
- One elementary special ed
- One speech pathologist
- One kindergarten teacher
- One grade one teacher
- Four grade seven teachers reduced by 20% each
- Three part-time elementary teacher assistants
- 6.5 elemntary special ed teacher assistants
As I understand, these are on top of some nine positions already slated for nixing.
The committee just voted to approve the new proposed budget, with only Danielle Coulter opposed. Supt. Rearick reminded everybody that further cuts — that is, below a 2.7% spending increase year-over-year — are going to begin cutting into programs.
Of course, The teachers got their raise, including retroactive pay for more than a year of negotiations. That much is off the table…
The committee is discussing the 24 tentative pink slips that the superintendent will give out in case they have to be let go. Most or all of these teachers won’t lose their jobs, but Rearick made an interesting comment:
“Many of these are the best and brightest.”
Presumably, he’s referring to bumping and the discusson he said he had with the union leaders over whose jobs to threaten. Letting the good one’s go; that’s the way to succeed!
Extended discussion of the appropriate detail to be included in meeting minutes. Danielle Coulter suggests that key points of discussion ought to be included. Carol Herrmann thinks that’s the press’s job. Rearick said the schools’ lawyer suggested the short form.
Looking at the new budget proposal, the breakdown of increases/decreases is noteworthy:
- Salaries: 0.54%
- Benefits: 2.18%
- Purchased services: 19.87%
- Supplies/materials: -5.12%
- Other costs: -3.15%
- Capital (operations): 1.19%
- Capital: 0%
Those salary and benefit numbers, by the way, take into account the 14 or so layoffs — and they’re still increases.
The committee is discussing the financial ramifications should the financial town meeting be moved to July. Financial Director Doug Fiore explained that any resolution to postpone the vote would require a component that ensures the continuation of cash flow until the budget is resolved.
After the meeting Town Council Member Joanne Arruda approached me rather agitated that I’d suggested that town council meetings tend to start early, and she requested that I tell my “people” that my assertion was “not a good thing.”
So, people, let it be noted — and I’ve appended a footnote to the relevant post — that my casual commentary did not accurately reflect the thorough devotion to punctuality of the Tiverton town council. I should have taken a moment to elaborate on my thought, rather than publish an inaccurate short-hand quip.