Let's address our neglected schools

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What began as a fresh start filled with possibilities is rapidly souring into a display of intolerance for a situation that has been created by years of neglect and, unfortunately, can only be corrected by a huge outlay of capital from the taxpayers.

Indeed, optimism abounded when the School Committee picked Philip Thornton as superintendent. He was stepping into a difficult situation where the community had lost confidence in the school administration over the handling of inappropriate actions of a teacher who was barely reprimanded when he should have been suspended.

Thornton’s energy and accessibility were refreshing.

But there was more to the job than building a new administrative team. Thornton was handed the unpopular directive of consolidating secondary schools and the task of reaching a contract with the Warwick Teachers Union. The contract remains elusive. We have a truce, but not a settlement. The parties portend to seek the best for our children when, in fact, this has become a match of who is going to blink first and what an agreement will cost.

Cost, not just of an agreement but also of repairing our long neglected schools, has already emerged as an issue. There’s no argument that schools are in need of renovations. Instead, as witnessed when the Council Finance Committee reviewed the School Committee’s proposed $85 million bond, debate focused on whether the numbers were correct and why the council had not been involved in reviewing the options, including building new schools for a considerably greater amount. The council’s failure to act virtually makes it impossible for a bond to come before the voters in a special election this fall. That delays renovations by at least another year while potentially jeopardizing the city’s chances to gain 40 percent of costs in state matching funds.

However, the battle is not over.

Next month, the School Committee will ask the council for the release of $4 million in bond funding approved by voters 11 years ago. Of that amount, schools would use $1.8 million to augment the $4.2 million it has set aside to replace the Vets heat and air system. Again, there is no argument that the steam system has outlived its life, yet angry over consolidation and what some council members believe a mismanagement of funds to make improvements at Vets and Pilgrim, it appears council approval won’t come easily, if at all.

This is not a pretty situation.

The debate, as happened with the $85 million bond, has the potential of becoming personal and losing sight of addressing what needs to be done.

We urge the council to not let the frustration of prior inaction and mistakes overshadow sound reasoning. It’s time to team up and fix our schools.

Comments

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Justanidiot

we needs a mayer who is for the taxpayers

Thursday, February 23
richardcorrente

Dear Justanidiot,

Hang on.

2018 is around the corner.

And I will be just as serious about spending the taxpayers money wisely as I am now. We give the School Committee $160,000,000 A YEAR and they have no accountability to the taxpayers, and BY THE CITY CHARTER they are not accountable to ANYONE once they receive "THEIR" money. That's why I said in my first campaign that I wouldn't give it to them until and unless they were accountable to the City Council BEFORE they receive a dime!

I have met with those elected City Council officials and they tell me that they agree with that part of "The Corrente Plan". I hope and believe they do.

Stay tuned old friend. This is getting better and better.

Happy 70 degrees!!

Rick Corrente

proudly, The Taxpayers Mayor

Saturday, February 25
DannyHall82

The children of the City of Warwick have been neglected for decades, it's never about the Children.... It's about getting reelected. Mr. Testa has been involved from the beginning, his opinions and recommendations should be considered. At this point offer to give the City Council the school budget.....I'd bet they wouldn't take control just for the fact that they wouldn't want to be accountable for the extremely tough decisions. It's easier to play the blame game and get reelected.

Sunday, February 26
davebarry109

Maybe if we didn't pay the overwhelming majority of our teachers nearly 100,000 a year?

Thursday, March 2
Justanidiot

ewe is write davebarry109, day should be gettin over 100k per year. they earned it. why, they learnt me all eye ever neede two no

Friday, March 3