November 28, 2014
Rate this
School consolidation up for review again
Panel to draft requirements, work for consultants

The sub-committee of the Warwick School Committee tasked with developing the components of a Request for Proposal (RFP) to hire an outside consultant to examine the school district with regard to consolidation and a long-term plan for the future of the district has scheduled its first meeting.

The RFP Committee will meet from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. on Saturday, March 15 in the large meeting room in the Warwick Public Library, located at 600 Sandy Lane.

The announcement came at the end of Tuesday night’s School Committee meeting. School Committee members Jennifer Ahearn and Karen Bachus head up the committee and will determine who and how many members it will comprise.

The School Committee approved the creation of the sub-committee a month ago after a recommendation from the Long Term Facilities Planning Committee to close Gorton and Aldrich Junior High Schools and re-purpose Warwick Veterans Memorial High School as a super junior high was rejected. The School Committee chose to hire an outside consultant to examine the district and make a recommendation on how to move forward, a move many members of the public called for during comments expressed at public hearings on the matter.

Following the school committee meeting Tuesday, Ahearn said she has three individuals in mind who have a background in facilities and developing RFPs she wants to include on the committee, and added that she will also be extending an invitation to Mayor Scott Avedisian.

“Hopefully he wants to be part of the process and vision of what our school system looks like in Warwick,” she said, adding that if any City Council members want to take part on the committee, to contact her at ahearnj@warwickschools.org.

Bachus said the reason it took so long to schedule the first meeting was scarce availability of meeting spaces. She said she expects the committee to number “somewhere around 10 members from all walks of the city.”

“We will do our due diligence to bring forth an RFP that is appropriate and considers the scope and breadth of the issue,” she said. “It may take two meetings, four meetings or six meetings – whatever it takes.”

Ahearn sees things differently.

“I hope it only takes one or two meetings,” she said. “We’re developing requirements for what we want in a consultant. I don’t expect it to be a long, drawn-out process.”

Although Ahearn wanted to set a date to have the sub-committee establish the RFP requirements by, other school committee members didn’t agree it was a good idea.

“For us to give a time limit could open us up to saying we didn’t spend enough time developing the RFP,” said committee members Terri Medeiros.

“It should take as long as it needs to take in order to get it right,” Bachus added. “This isn’t the forum.”

Ahearn said she’s done a lot of homework and research on the matter and she’s ready to go.

“We’re putting together a list of requirements for a consultant to come in and determine if they can handle that and move forward,” she said. “It’s nowhere near to the level of what the Long Term Facilities Planning Committee had to do.”

Rosemary Healey, director of human resources and legal counsel for the School Committee, pointed out the sub-committee members still need to be named.

Although a time limit was not established for the RFP sub-committee to determine what it wants in a consultant, Ahearn said she’s looking for a lot of participation and invited anyone who is interested to attend the March 15 meeting.

“Hopefully we’re able to accomplish a lot,” she said. “With everyone working together, it should only take a few hours.”

Bachus said that while members on the sub-committee have been specifically asked to participate on the committee, the public will be given a 10- to 15-minute opportunity to speak at the beginning of the meeting on March 15. Bachus specified the time period is 10 to 15 minutes in general, not per person speaking.


Comments
4 comments on this item

No, it should not take a long time. Each month this isn't done is more tax dollars wasted. You would not do this in your own household budget. Get this done as soon as possible and close some schools so the tax payers can get a break.

Bachus is dragging her feet...We all know what needs to be done! Just do it. and stop wasting time and money. Bad enough we are paying an outside consultant to tell us what we all know needs to be done. Don't forget Bachus there are many of us who don't support wasting our tax dollars on trying to please all the parents at Vets....WE VOTE TOO!!!! you can bet your bottom dollar that I will be voting! voting you right out!

Close some schools. What are they waiting for ?? This makes no sense to keep all these less than half full schools open. We all know there will not be a baby boom any time soon. Who can afford kids these days ? Many are moving out of the city.

Show me the data that says a half full school is a bad thing for students. I'm so sick of people trying to hurry up and close schools before anybody has studied the data or the community impact. This study should be about how to best educate the students of warwick, not how cheap we can do it. If we want to save $ so badly then why not consolidate the administration of the school dept? and eliminate the "buddy system" that has plagued warwick for years. There is no bigger fraud on this issue than Beth Furtado. She has shown herself unqualified to lead on many tough issues this district faces ( Supt. Horoschak, Dr. D hiring/extension, closing gorton, closing gorton/vets/Aldrich) I find it hilarious that Cmte member Bachus is taking so much heat from people, at least she has the courage to voice her opinion and STAND BY IT. Beth Furtado for weeks declared the sky was falling and that we needed to close schools, fire librarians and any other draconian cuts she could come up with. When it came time to vote on the consolidation proposal SHE PUNTED. How does that saying go? She was FOR consolidation before she was AGAINST it? She then voiced frustration that the vote was tabled. Stand by your convictions, you are the chair of the school dept, you shouldn't be playing politics when it comes to students and closing schools. Taking a full time librarian out of a Jr high ? How does that benefit a student in this district? Let's hold these people accountable and not take everything they say "as is". There is clearly a bias towards closing vets/gorton and that isn't in the best interest of the district or its students. The consultants should look at EVERYTHING, let's not handcuff them by telling them to only look at the consolidation portion. When putting this framework committee together we need to make sure that they are objective. The last thing we need is a committee full of folks who've made up their minds on school consolidation...remember we've tried that already.

You must be logged in to post a comment. Click here to log in.
Welcome to RIjobs.com
Copyright © 2014, Beacon Communications. Powered by: Creative Circle Advertising Solutions, Inc.