Bids exceed $150K set aside to study schools

Matt Bower
Posted 11/6/14

Four bids have been submitted in response to a Request for Proposals (RFP) issued by the School Committee for an outside consultant to examine the school district and develop a plan for the future. …

This item is available in full to subscribers.

Please log in to continue

Log in

Bids exceed $150K set aside to study schools


Four bids have been submitted in response to a Request for Proposals (RFP) issued by the School Committee for an outside consultant to examine the school district and develop a plan for the future. Twenty-four companies had initially expressed an interest and requested the 17-page document for review.

Rosemary Healey, director of human resources and legal counsel for the school department, said the bids range from approximately $280,000 to more than $600,000.

“The four bids that were submitted all came in more than what we had set aside,” said School Committee Chairwoman Beth Furtado of the $150,000 the committee earmarked to hire an outside consultant.

The school committee decided to hire an outside consultant instead of following the recommendation of the Long Term Facilities Planning Committee (LTFPC) to close Warwick Veterans Memorial High School for a year while it was converted to a super junior high school to house students from Gorton and Aldrich junior highs, both of which would be closed the following year. Vets students would have been split between Pilgrim and Toll Gate high schools.

After holding two public hearings late last year following the LFTPC recommendation, the school committee unanimously voted in January to table the matter and hire a consultant. The school committee then established a sub-committee in March that would be responsible for drawing up the requirements of consultants in the RFP. The RFP committee presented a recommended draft RFP to the school committee for approval in July, which was approved by a 4-1 vote, with Furtado dissenting.

According to the RFP, Healey said the school committee chair was to receive the bids and bring them to the school committee for further investigation. Companies had until Oct. 28 to submit proposals.

“On Oct. 28 the chair received the bids and read out the dollar figure, but there’s been no analysis,” Healey said. “The bids have been opened but retained in possession of the school committee; the administration has not seen them.”

Healey said the next step is for the committee to review the bids and decide how to proceed.

“We haven’t had a chance to look them over as a committee yet,” Furtado said.

With two of the three school committee members up for re-election facing opposition, Furtado said a decision on a consultant would not be made until the makeup of the school committee was known and planned to move forward after the first of the year.

Furtado said she has put an item on the agenda for the Nov. 18 school committee meeting for discussion of how to handle the bids.

“We need a school committee meeting to go over the bids. These aren’t two-page bids; these are bound books with a table of contents and a lot of details,” she said.

Healey said she believes Furtado will suggest holding a workshop so the committee can go through the details of each bid.

“They will discuss generally the bids received and identify the names of the companies that submitted bids,” she said. “The school committee will review the bids, assess them and call in the companies for questioning, if need be, through interviews.”

When asked if the committee would put the RFP out to bid again if the bids submitted were deemed too expensive since they all came in excess of the $150,000 set aside to hire a consultant, Furtado said “we’ll cross that bridge when we come to it.”

Healey said the committee has a number of options.

“The committee has retained the right in the RFP to modify the scope of the work,” she said. “They could make a decision that none of the bids were responsive or that they were so far in excess that they throw them out and ask for new bidders, or they can narrow the scope of the RFP or what they see in the proposals.”

Regardless of what the committee decides, once a company is selected, it has 90 days to complete its study and present its recommendation. However, Furtado said the school committee could vote to change that timetable.

“I look forward to having a conversation with the committee to determine the direction that we will go,” Furtado said. “Our goal is to always put the students and their educational advancement first, but how we go about that remains to be seen.”

The school committee is scheduled to meet on Tuesday, Nov. 18 at 7 p.m. in the auditorium at Toll Gate High School.


2 comments on this item Please log in to comment by clicking here

  • awarwickresident

    So we are now going to pay upwards of $280,000 to for a consultant to essentially tell us the same thing that the Long term planning committee already has. Yes, it will be a long detailed report with lots of fancy charts and graphs. But to spend that much money and procrastinate dealing with the problems is shameful. I can't believe the same people were re-elected to the committee. That is truly a disgrace. You can't find the money to fund programs like ALAP but you can justify spending this obscene amount on a report that will not tell you anything that you don't already know.

    Thursday, November 6, 2014 Report this

  • warwick10

    Same old, same old... thanks to the voters!

    Thursday, November 6, 2014 Report this