Mayor to host coffee hour meetings with PTOs, PTAs

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Citing a desire to improve lines of communication between city officials and Warwick Public Schools, Mayor Joseph Solomon announced last week he would launch a program in December of monthly “coffee-hour style” meetings between himself and members of the city’s various Parent-Teacher Associations and Organizations (PTOs).

“Our parent-teacher groups are a very important part of our school system,” Solomon said in the release. “We are fortunate to have tremendously active parents and dedicated teachers throughout our community who give generously of their time and talent. It's important that the city work together with them to help them further succeed in their efforts on behalf of our students.”

Solomon indicated that, since there are 14 elementary schools in the city (plus the Early Learning Center at the former John Brown Francis Elementary School), it would work best to meet in two groups for the elementary level and to meet with a third group comprised of the parent-teacher groups from the middle and high schools. These three groups would meet “on a rotating basis within the monthly schedule,” the release stated. At some points, he suggested having all parties meet at the same time.

“I think it's very important to have the ability not only to be able to see the larger picture of the work of all of our parent-teacher groups, but to afford them the opportunity to share their concerns and ideas in a smaller group setting so that we can address them proactively rather than reactively,” Solomon said. “I look forward to meeting with them to hear directly about the activities and events taking place and to let them to bring to light any difficulties or improvements that can be achieved at their respective schools.”

The idea sparked compliments from Ward 2 Councilman Jeremy Rix and Ward 5 Councilman Ed Ladouceur, and prompted an inquiry from Rep. David Bennett, who wondered if state representatives might have the opportunity to sit in on the meetings as well. “Communication is the first step to improvement,” he said in an email.

While the original press release regarding the meetings went out on Oct. 8, Sarah Theberge – the president of the Warwick Council PTA and president elect of the Rhode Island PTA – hadn’t heard of the proposed idea until the Beacon reached out to her for her thoughts on the matter.

“That's news to me,” she said, but added that, “I think what he is proposing is great. I see a huge potential value in that.”

According to Theberge, the Warwick Council PTA has recently organized a mixer that brought together all the different PTOs from various schools in the city, and has traditionally invited school administration to their meetings as well. However, adding in the element of meeting directly with city officials struck Theberge as a valuable concept above what was already occurring.

“While we've done it on a smaller scale than what he's suggesting, I already know there's value to them. And I can guarantee they'll be well attended,” she said. “These are the people who really have a stake in what's happening. They're already willing to put aside time to volunteer and run these boards for the PTAs and PTOs, so they absolutely have a dog in the fight and want to explore options.”

Theberge said that the discussions would provide a great opportunity to tell city officials issues that go on in schools related to insufficient funding – such as an issue occurring now where PTOs are responsible for supplying playgrounds they have built through fundraising with safe mulch, which can cost big money that these organizations don’t necessarily have.

“Holliman spent $4,000 to mulch their playground, only to have 50 percent of it wash away during the rainstorms a couple weeks ago,” she said. “It was literally money washed down the drain.”

On Wednesday, Solomon expressed his happiness that he had received such warm responses to the proposal, and said he’d be happy to keep state representatives in the loop.

“It has become abundantly clear to me that they are all looking for an organic, open line of communication to discuss and express their opinions and concerns regarding the education of our children,” he said in a statement. As such, my initial objective is to meet with representatives from all our schools in small groups and help facilitate honest discussions. As the dialogues advance, I have no issue sharing their findings with members of our local and state partners who are interested in these issues.”

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richardcorrente

What?

You mean acting Mayor Joe Solomon wants to do what former Mayor Joe Walsh used to do?

You mean acting Mayor Joe Solomon wants to be accountable in "coffee-hour style" meetings once a month like I suggested in The Corrente Plan?

You mean acting Mayor Joe Solomon actually wants input from the PTA?

And he wants to do it every month?

I have to admit, I'm impressed! Especially if State representative David Bennet gets invited to participate as well. His comment "Communication is the first step to improvement" is the most profound statement he has ever made.

Brilliant idea.

Happy Autumn everyone.

Rick Corrente

The Taxpayers Mayor

Thursday, October 18
CrickeeRaven

The two-time election reject again proves his lack of restrain in humiliating himself by claiming credit for the decision that Mayor Solomon made. Nothing in the two-time election reject's collection of slogans and empty promises that he falsely calls a "plan" ever recommended regular meetings between city and school officials.

He has also routinely used this website to falsely accuse the school committee of crimes, which is not what any reasonable or mature person considers to be effective communication.

Honest, taxpaying voters who overwhelmingly rejected his candidacy twice are having a happy autumn knowing that nothing he says or does will affect the real and legitimate work being done by our actual elected officials.

Thursday, October 18
Cat2222

Communication is a good thing. I am glad to see the Mayor putting himself out there to be listening to both sides. He is trying to run the city along with a campaign and I am sure time is in short supply so he deserves a pat on the back for making time to listen to his constituents.

RC, Congrats on being a complete and total putz.This article had zero to do with you and yet you are the very first to comment and make it ALL ABOUT YOU. You can't seem to stop making a fool of yourself.

Thursday, October 18
CrickeeRaven

Thank you, Cat, for succinctly and correctly pointing out the two-time election reject's many defects, the most prominent of which is his use of this website to make a fool of himself.

He long ago gave up any semblance of self-respect on this website by repeating his many lies, denying the factual information about his tax delinquency, and engaging in name-calling when his lies were exposed.

And it's only gotten worse as he has ignored his two overwhelming and humiliating election losses for what any reasonable and mature person would see them to be: Proof that voters do not want to hear from him, or accept anything he says or does.

No one -- including Mayor Solomon or David Bennett -- cares whether the two-time election reject is "impressed," or pays compliments to Mr. Bennett's statements.

That said, I agree with you, that Mayor Solomon's plan is a good one. I hope it yields positive results.

Thursday, October 18
richardcorrente

Dear Cat2222 and CrickeeRaven,

WOW, you got all that from my congratulating acting Mayor Solomon on his "brilliant idea"? WOW! Thank you for your loyal attention. Keep up the good work!

Happy Autumn Cat2222 and CrickeeRaven.

Happy Autumn everyone.

Rick Corrente

The Taxpayers Mayor

Saturday, October 20
richardcorrente

Dear Cat2222 and CrickeeRaven,

WOW, you got all that from my congratulating acting Mayor Solomon on his "brilliant idea"? WOW! Thank you for your loyal attention. Keep up the good work!

Happy Autumn Cat2222 and CrickeeRaven.

Happy Autumn everyone.

Rick Corrente

The Taxpayers Mayor

Saturday, October 20
CrickeeRaven

As predicted, the two-time election reject has made a fool of himself again by ignoring the majority of his own prior comment and twisting the words of other commenters.

He also exposes his own ignorance of city operations when he refers to "acting Mayor Solomon."

Under the city charter, the appointment is to the office of mayor until the next election. There is no such honorarium as "acting mayor" in the Warwick charter.

I am certainly enjoying the autumn (independent of his hollow wishes) knowing that my vote was among those of thousands of honest, taxpaying voters who overwhelmingly rejected his futile candidacy again in September.

Saturday, October 20
Cat2222

He really does not work well with technology, does he?

Tuesday, October 23