Mayor favors $4M for schools, Vets; council still has questions
Mayor Scott Avedisian has expressed support for releasing the $4 million in bond funds to the School Department, but City Council members are still looking for answers.
“I support releasing the bond money to allow the school department to move forward with the repairs to the heating system and other improvements at Warwick Veterans,” Avedisian wrote in an email this week.
The issue of the bond funds was discussed for approximately four hours at last Monday’s City Council meeting before a council rule was invoked to end the meeting at 11:30 p.m. That delayed the conversation until the next meeting on March 20.
Councilman Jeremy Rix detailed in a letter to the editor that though he supports “allowing the voters to consider a large bond that would address the most urgent priorities” in schools, “haste makes waste,” and that schools cannot afford more waste.
“The City Council and School Committee must act carefully before spending millions of taxpayer dollars. Our schools are in desperate need of repairs, as detailed in the SMMA study,” Rix wrote. “My fellow councilors’ words speak for themselves: we are deeply concerned with the schools but will not vote on millions of dollars of spending without asking questions and getting the answers we need.”
Rix also commended Dean Johnson, who had reasoned building new schools would be more worth the cost than spending money on fixing the aging buildings.
“Our newest schools are over 40 years old; the average is 60 years old; some were built before World War II. The costs of HVAC, electrical and plumbing repairs/upgrades, ADA compliance, asbestos removal, etc. add up fast,” Rix wrote. “A study of replacing the buildings in greatest disrepair may lead to millions of dollars in long-term savings. At the same time, creating state-of-the-art schools for children will make Warwick a destination for young families once again.”
The council will hear the request again at a meeting Monday night.