September 23, 2014
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LETTERS
Community schools for sale!...it will happen to you...

To the Editor:

“Hey Mary, that’s too bad about Gorton, that grand ol’ dame, possibly closing, eh?”

“Well Mike, all good things must come to an end. The Consolidation Committee was just doing the prudent thing. Schools under capacity … saving money, you know. After all, that’s progress.”

“Yeah, I guess, but after hearing about the Master Plan, I’ve decided to move out of Warwick.”

“Wait a minute. Move out of Warwick? Master Plan? What are you talking about Mike?”

“I have two young kids in elementary school, and it looks like quality education has taken a backseat to city planning.”

“Well, I’m just glad my kids don’t go to Gorton. Getting jammed into another junior high halfway across the city and losing that nostalgic, wholesome sense of community does sound pretty depressing. What Master Plan are you talking about?”

“Did you wonder why the Consolidation Committee inexplicably decided on Gorton closing as opposed to Aldrich when research showed busing would be less expensive to move the Aldrich kids, and operating and maintenance costs at Aldrich were actually higher?”

“Yeah, I thought, if it were all about saving money and just closing one school, then the choice of schools didn’t make much sense, but they must know what they’re doing. Hey, what Master Plan are you talking about?”

“Gorton closes this year. Pilgrim closes next year. High school kids are bused to Toll Gate and Vets. Then Aldrich closes. Pilgrim is then converted to a Super Junior High School Factory.”

“Well, that stinks. I’m just glad my kids will be going to Winman.”

“Sorry Mary, according to the Master Plan, Winman will eventually convert to a votech school, and your little darlings will be shipped across the city with the others into the Super Junior High Factory formerly known as Pilgrim.”

“This fairy tale is very disturbing. Sounds like Warwick’s days are numbered. Who would want to raise a family here or send their kids to school here? That Master Plan sounds pretty cold. I guess it’s all about money, though. And if they divide and conquer with small cuts, the city will passively lose consciousness and bleed to death without much fanfare. But why? Who benefits from this Master Plan?”

“Well, according to the Plan, Gorton will be converted to a Community Center/Administration Building. The old Administration Building on Warwick Avenue will be sold for big box development along with Aldrich … prime real estate for some carpetbagger.”

“Wait, this isn’t a fairy tale is it? There doesn’t seem to be much of a future for any Warwick resident with school-age kids in this Master Plan. But what can we do?”

“Call your City Council members. Call the mayor. Call your School Committee members, and hold their feet to the fire. Ask them to confirm or deny this ‘fairy tale’ because as the ol’ song says, ‘Fairy tales can come true, it can happen to you…’”

Stephen Andolfo

Warwick


Comments
12 comments on this item

Oh for Petes sake....we should have been closing schools years ago. Enough waste of my taxpayer money already.

How many schools have they closed already? My taxes still went up after closing multiple elementary schools. I am sick of hearing about the taxes. They are never going to lower then or return your money. It will end up in some candidates pocket. Is that better?

If you are not happy with this decision please contact your local school committee and tell them how you feel. Tell them your vote in November will reflect their vote on keeping the schools open.

Here are their phone numbers to help you along in this process:

TOLL GATE/WINMAN AREA

Bethany A. Furtado, Chairperson

18 Cardinal St, Warwick, RI, 02886

401-737-2354

VETS/GORTON AREA

M. Terri Medeiros, Vice Chair

5 Lyndon Avenue, Warwick, RI, 02889

401-921-5116

EVERYONE CALL- ALL AREAS

Jennifer Ahearn, Clerk

401-954-1279

PILGRIM/ALDRICH AREA

Eugene A. Nadeau

15 Killdeer Road, Warwick, RI, 02888

401-463-8742

EVERYONE CALL- ALL AREAS

Karen Bachus

208 Burt Street, Warwick, RI, 02886

401-738-2106

Gee, Mr. Andolfo, I thought you might be a bit curious how a school department that seems to be under constant duress financially, would continue to operate not one, but three junior high schools at 50% capacity for YEARS? How we have our own version of lotto roulette when it comes to handing out golden parachutes to departing superintendents and administrators, then telling the taxpayers its done in closed session and we won't tell you the cause of the dismissal. I guess it depends at which end of the taxpayer trough you are located at, the payer at the beginning or shallow end, or the payee drinking from the deep end secure for another year in a job in a school that should have been closed years ago. It serves the end users, the students well to burn up payroll dollars and support staff to continue to operate dinosaurs of buildings which ultimately takes money from the students who need it the most with less money available for discretionary supply expenses, like for books and such. Steve, in the end, they don't give a damn. Taxpayers have many answers, no one will ask the tough questions...

Stephen, are you a teacher in Warwick? Which school? When you write on the other side of Warwick do you mean 10 minutes away? Gorton seems to be in the middle of the other 2 schools. It makes sense to me that Gorton students would not have to go all the way to the other side of town. I do believe more investigation and questions must be answered and the school committee must ask the questions. I encourage all of the citizens of Warwick to attend the meetings and ask questions.

Finally, if Warwick straightens out the financial situation, more people WILL want to move here.

Taxpayer22222, the schools have been level funded from 2008-2012. The city budget has gone up $30 million annually during the same time period. The taxpayer money is not going towards improvement of schools, improvement of programs or to fix roads, it is going to someone's pocket as increased salary or benefits or to fix a retirement funding issue that the city (the Mayor) refuses to admit exists and the Beacon refuses to report on. Our money is being wasted in the form of promises to get re-elected.

Pmaloneyjr, How do we stop this craziness? I do not want to support the criminals. I would like the money to go for good. Never interested in fattening the pockets of people that do more harm then good. How do we motivate people to stand up for what they believe and not think their voice does not matter. It is depressing to realize the people we vote into office do what ever they want once elected. We need to stand together and hold them accountable for the mess they are creating. Wether there before or now it is time to fix it.

I worked hard for 4 years, I was open and communicated continuously, I was also not re-elected. I was surprised. I don't have an answer on how to stop craziness other than to say that the people who ran against me promised to listen. They promised to make decisions thinking about the kids and to do their homework. Hold them to it. Also, everyone who pays taxes in Warwick should attend the school committee meetings even when a school and program is not in danger of being closed or cut. People seem to get active only when they think something is "unfair" or directly affects them. The fact is every decision that is made directly affects us because it is our tax dollars. Show up to the City Council meetings too and let the mayor know your concerns. If no one speaks, they can all use the excuse that no one told them there was a problem when they made their decision. The school budgets will soon be discussed, followed by the city budget. Attend all the meetings, they can be boring but they are so important.

Lets see how many of you will be at the council meeting on Monday March 11th at 7pm to discuss the 311 million dollar unfunded debt to the Police / Fire 1 pension plan. That debt alone is crippling the city but the mayor thinks that it is fine. Get ready for another major tax increas. On Monday night, I will post on this column to let you know that the council chambers were empty because we live amongst ostriches. If your not there you deserve what you get.

Fenceman; They will be too busy watching reality TV shows...I admire your passion! I also feel for Maloney as he would not be the first elected bluntly speaking official removed from office for doing the right thing. See if you can get any of those Mensa candidates to answer this..."How much money are the taxpayers of Warwick on the hook for right now?" I would include all unfunded or underfund liabilities for pensions and healthcare benefits for all agencies, plus how much is outstanding in all bonded debt and how much has been approved for spending that hasn't even been floated yet...Good luck getting an answer as the silence from them all will be the big tell...Good luck.

I agree with Pat..the outrage that I heard at the School Committee Meeting the other night (3/12/13) was based on a "greed" argument. Not one of the educators that spoke offered a solution to our financial situation. My belief as a member of the LTFPC is that more time should have been applied to what will happen once the doors close at Gorton (or whatever junior high school) and the kids are shifted. We have tanking test scores in this City and we have a new program...STAR...beginning in the fall...not to mention the Common Core Standard is a middle school method of teaching...a 6-8 model..which Warwick is reluctant to adopt in full. How is this going to be a positive change when absolutely no thought went into it? Ugh.

I agree with Pat..the outrage that I heard at the School Committee Meeting the other night (3/12/13) was based on a "greed" argument. Not one of the educators that spoke offered a solution to our financial situation. My belief as a member of the LTFPC is that more time should have been applied to what will happen once the doors close at Gorton (or whatever junior high school) and the kids are shifted. We have tanking test scores in this City and we have a new program...STAR...beginning in the fall...not to mention the Common Core Standard is a middle school method of teaching...a 6-8 model..which Warwick is reluctant to adopt in full. How is this going to be a positive change when absolutely no thought went into it? Ugh.

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