Stenhouse scores Solomon for failing to engage in school budget process

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In the first issue-related release of her campaign for mayor, Republican candidate Sue Stenhouse expressed her concern over funding of Warwick schools saying, “I find it extremely disheartening that funding the city’s educational system has become a political football and our elected officials are posturing, rather than engaging, in meaningful dialogue towards a solution.”

Stenhouse, who served as the Ward 1 councilwoman from 2000 to 2007 and went on to run an unsuccessful campaign for Secretary of State, also took a swipe at Mayor Joseph Solomon, a Democrat, who stepped into the post when Mayor Scott Avedisian resigned in May to accept the president and CEO post at the Rhode Island Public Transit Authority. Solomon faces a four-way primary this September as the party’s nominee.

“For someone who continuously talks about his experience with scrutinizing city budgets for the past 18 years and with four intervals as council president, I am hard-pressed to understand why acting Mayor Solomon did not engage in discussions with the school department prior to, and throughout, the budget hearings,” Stenhouse said in a release.

“The acting mayor was surely aware of the timely fiscal impact statements presented by the school department regarding the WTU and the WISE contracts. Surely the acting mayor must have been aware – or should have been – of the school department’s appropriation in the proposed budget. Yet he did nothing to address the issue,” she continued. “It wasn’t until the school department released its list of proposed cuts and public pressure and bad press continued to mount that he decided to engage. However, the acting mayor’s ‘solution’ of providing a ‘one-time’ $1.75 million appropriation on the city-side of the budget to pay a portion of the school debt does little more than kick the can down the road. It is a stop-gap measure that will place the school department in the same hole – except with more to fill in FY20 – and it does not necessarily ‘save’ the hot-button programs the school committee found necessary to cut.”

Stenhouse will formally launch her campaign this evening at a fundraiser at Chelo’s restaurant on Post Road. She said as a candidate for mayor her priority would be to engage in open dialogue with the School Committee “to find a reasonable, sustainable long-term funding plan for our schools.” She also said she would “work in a steadfast manner to repair the relationship between the City Council and the school committee so productive and relevant discussion can improve multiple issues throughout the year.”

If elected, she said she would call for a summit with the goal of long-range solutions. Members will include concerned parties such as the City Council, school administration, teachers, the school committee, RIDE and state representatives.

As for the current situation that finds the school department $4.85 million shy of meeting its budget, if the committee accepts the $1.75 million Stenhouse said she believes the city should foot the $1.75 million in school bond principal and interest costs this year and going forward.

“I also believe there may be more opportunities for additional school funding with the sale of the retired school properties, among others. There has been no progress in liquidating these assets. The city needs to aggressively promote these properties while the real estate market is favorable. I will propose discussing a shared benefit from the sale of these properties between the city and the school department,” she said. “After all, they were originally intended to be utilized for educational purposes.”

Asked how she would deal with the current situation, Stenhouse said had she been mayor she would not have agreed to put an additional $4 million into repaving roads as the council did.

She urged for a compromise, saying a suit by the School Committee would be a “waste of money.” As a last option, she said she would dip into city reserves.

“Our educational system is the cornerstone of the city’s neighborhood and economic development efforts. It must inspire confidence in local businesses that employees will invest and settle in nearby neighborhoods to raise their families. We need leadership and vision. I do not see any of that in the acting mayor’s recent ‘solution’ to the fiscal dilemma with the school department in Warwick,” reads the release.

Solomon could not be reached for comment Monday.

Comments

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Justanidiot

She will dress someone up as a teacher and send them in to negotiate.

Tuesday, August 14
WwkVoter

Better yet, dress a male bus driver up as Stenhouse and tell 'her' to shut up!

Tuesday, August 14
richardcorrente

The School Committee received $163,000,000+- of taxpayers money for their budget to pay our teachers and maintain our schools. THEN they closed several schools and laid off many of our teachers. How they could have run out of money when they had so much LESS to pay for is astonishing to me. For them to come to the City Council for even more money without allowing for an INDEPENDENT AUDIT is offensive to me and the 80,000 taxpayers that are paying the tab. They threaten to sue if they don't get their way. For the record, in my honest opinion, the potential of a lawsuit is less of a problem than the extortion demand they are hitting the City Council and the acting Mayor with today. I personally don't believe they will ever go through with a lawsuit because they have MUCH more to loose. Giving in to them by offering a $1.7 million "one-time" (which will NEVER be one time) payment was a huge mistake. It encouraged the SC to try for more and they are! City Council...just say "No." If you don't, you might as well hand them a blank check, because so far, their threats are working and if you don't stop them here, you won't be able to later. Their budget will swell and every year they will "run out of money" and demand more. DON'T set that precedent. Please. Make them live within their means like we all have to.

Happy August everyone.

Rick Corrente

The Taxpayers Mayor

Tuesday, August 14
Cat2222

RC, Why would we spend even more money when they are already in the midst of audits and waiting on the results? You seem to want to recreate the wheel and forget that there is a cost associated with it. Also, 80,000 taxpayers are not paying the tab unless of course you think Warwick taxes infants, toddlers, grade school children and everyone else under the age of 18. Great idea by the way. Not give them money and watch everything collapse. You really are looking out for the school children in Warwick. Watching it burn so you can take all the credit?

Tuesday, August 14
CrickeeRaven

"Make them live within their means like we all have to," writes the candidate whose property taxes were paid by three different parties -- none of them him -- since 2014.

Readers can visit this link and enter 177 Grand View: https://www.citizenselfservice.com/MSSProd/citizens/RealEstate/ParcelBrowse.aspx

The sewer and water fees on that property are being paid in 2018 by Cove View, LLC -- not the make-believe mayor.

So, he is clearly not "living within their means" and has no right to judge whether others are doing the same.

Honest, taxpaying voters see through his hypocrisy and will overwhelmingly reject his candidacy on Sept. 12 as a result.

Tuesday, August 14
WarwickObserver

Stenhouse comes out against repairing roads. She has proven over and over again that she is not fit to lead. Worked for unsuccessful governor, and - no matter how she dresses it up - Sue failed running a senior center. I will reserve judgement on how she is doing as "Director of Community Engagement" at at mini-golf course." All I know is that Warwick can not afford her poor judgement.

Wednesday, August 15
WwkVoter

You know how this works. Insiders helping insiders. Even the losers circle is just another division of insiders. On that note, I predict that when they lose, Stenhouse hires Corrente as assistant community manager at the Mini Golf where she works. But then at least he can maybe pay his Warwick taxes finally.

Wednesday, August 15
richardcorrente

Dear Cat2222,

No, I don't believe that toddlers go to the tax office and make payments but every time mom and dad can't afford the higher quality goods and services the entire family pays for it, especially the children. In that way ALL 80,000 are, in my opinion, paying taxes, one way or the other. And I never said "don't give them money and watch everything collapse." I said that "the 80,000 taxpayers that are paying the tab, deserve answers BEFORE WE GIVE THEM A DIME!:" As Mayor I will get those answers and THEN I will give them their budget. Anything wrong with THAT idea Cat2222? Or do you insist on living a lie, and trying to get others to believe it as well.

Let me know.

Happy August Cat2222, whoever you are.

Happy August everyone.

Rick Corrente

The Taxpayers Mayor

Wednesday, August 15
Justanidiot

tank you master mayer youse cleared up another ting in our fare city. we is the only city that relies on jest its population to gets money fer skuls. we gets no monies from the state or federal guvmint to help us out one bits. da skul committe shows up at yer door and wants der mony now. youse have a smart kid der, i wouldn't wants to see him gets stoopid or someting

Wednesday, August 15
Thecaptain

Corrente, I cannot wait until you humiliate yourself once again. I'm sure it will be in the next ten minutes.

Wednesday, August 15
richardcorrente

Dear Justanidiot,

Your comments are as entertaining as always, but you also brought up a good point. Warwick DOES get some money from the state and it is supposed to be based on the percentage of capacity of our schools. The closer to full capacity, the more money Warwick is supposed to receive, but it doesn't appear that Warwick Is getting its' fair share. I will look into it and let you and the readers know what I find out. Maybe the calculation was made before the number of schools were reduced.

Thanks for bringing it up old friend.

Happy August Justanidiot.

Happy August everyone.

Rick Corrente

The Taxpayers Mayor

Wednesday, August 15
WarwickDemocratVoter

As someone who works in state human services, I take ENORMOUS issue with the ignorant comments posted here about Stenhouse's tenure at the Cranston Senior Center. When she took it over, it was a rat-infested mess -- check public health department records. She was resourceful in renovating it and her leaving was detrimental to it. Ask any senior who went there -- they miss her dearly.

And JustanIdiot -- you certainly are.

Wednesday, August 15
Justanidiot

Even the people who played seniors on television?

Wednesday, August 15
CrickeeRaven

Cat, you're right not to accept the make-believe mayor's false claims and bluster.

He is somehow arguing that children "pay taxes" when their parents can't afford "higher quality goods and services."

That is such a defective idea that I won't even waste time trying to address it.

He also wants to withhold funding to the school department based on nothing more than conspiracy theories and delusional ideas.

He thinks another audit -- at the city's expense, of course -- will show something different from what every annual audit, conducted by the same independent firm that reviews the city's books, has shown.

He insists on accusing the school committee of "extortion" after the WTU illegally shut down schools in the middle of contract negotiations.

And he thinks that not paying the school budget -- which would result in teacher salaries and benefits not being paid, increasing the likelihood and number of legal actions against the city -- is somehow a preferred strategy.

As with so many of his ideas, this is wrong. He is not proving anything except his defects as a candidate and his complete inability to restrain himself from making a humiliating spectacle of himself.

So, Cat, keep up the good work in exposing the make-believe mayor for the disgrace of a candidate that he is. I look forward to joining you and thousands of honest, taxpaying voters in rejecting his candidacy again on Sept. 12.

Wednesday, August 15
WwkVoter

is it any wonder that Corrente would be confused about who pays taxes, when he didnt even pay his own taxes (repeatedly)?

Wednesday, August 15
Cat2222

RC, you can't say there are 80,000 taxpayers in Warwick and then say it is only the parents that are paying taxes. I know if seems like beating a dead horse but if you can't be accurate in your numbers when posting and campaigning, how can people trust you with the important position of running a city?

Based on your copious comments about the budget and the Warwick School Committee, I 100% believe you would like to see it all collapse. How else could you pretend to sweep in and save the day?

Running a campaign on incorrect facts and figures poses a real problem for many voters. The only one who seems to not have a problem with it is you. You are not someone who takes correction well, you are not a critical thinker and you have tunnel vision.Not a single thing points to being a good fit for the office of mayor.

Thursday, August 16
Cat2222

WarwickDemocratVoter

Just my opinion but when someone does something that is less than ethical, I can't trust that person again. No matter how great a job they did, they still decided to go low and what is to say they won't again? The saying, "Once a cheater, always a cheater" goes for more than just infidelity. You can't buy integrity or character and once lost, it never comes back.

Thursday, August 16