To the Editor:
After reading Superintendent D’Agostino’s letter in Tuesday’s Beacon, I felt compelled to write in and voice my opinion as requested by the superintendent.
I am against the closing of the two junior high schools and turning Warwick Veterans into a super junior high school, and eventually a middle school. I realize the school system’s desire to save money, yet it seems that so often many of the “cost saving measures” do not actually produce the savings projected. The superintendent states that the Long Term Facilities Planning Committee (LTFPC) has determined that the city will save $4.4 million by converting Warwick Vets into a junior high school, however, none of the articles I have read have provided the Warwick taxpayers with a breakdown of the proposed costs associated with the recommended changes. With most municipal projects, the savings realized are invariably less than anticipated, yet the costs are consistently much more than what is initially quoted. I would like the LTFPC to provide the taxpayers with estimates of the anticipated costs of the renovations to Toll Gate, Pilgrim and Warwick Veterans High Schools, as well as the increased cost of busing more students longer distances.
I am sure these changes will come with a hefty price tag.
Although Superintendent D’Agostino would brush off the “human factor” as inconsequential, I do feel it should be considered in the scheme of the proposed changes. We have all read that smaller classes are better for learning; what is the proposed number of students per class with the new LTFPC plan? The majority of the students being affected are from the lower income areas of the city. These students and their families may not have the resources to fight these changes and these families may not have the ability to transport their children across the city in the event of a missed bus, etc. The buses will add to the traffic congestion along with the Green Airport runway extension project, the re-routing of traffic around Apponaug and the possible new hotel construction near the railroad bridge in Apponaug. I pity the children on the buses heading to and from Toll Gate from the east each day during these construction projects. Let me remind you, Mr. D’Agostino, we are not a rural community. President George W. Bush’s administration coined the term, “No Child Left Behind”; with the changes proposed by the LTFPC, if these children don’t get on the bus, they will be left behind! Superintendent D’Agostino, let’s not replace teachers with bus drivers.
As per the superintendent’s request, I will submit my opinion to the Warwick School Committee.
Dennis Jackson Warwick Veterans
Class of 1975