Disputing the ‘myths’ as defined by the School Department

Posted 12/31/69

Open letter to Superintendent Lynn Dambruch,

Pertaining to the Building Warwick's Future email that was sent out from the school department, I would have this to offer, and also to have relative …

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Disputing the ‘myths’ as defined by the School Department


Open letter to Superintendent Lynn Dambruch,

Pertaining to the Building Warwick's Future email that was sent out from the school department, I would have this to offer, and also to have relative debate in public at your convenience at any time.

Pertaining to what you have labeled "MYTH"  in your email, I will address each bullet point.

Point 1.  MYTH - You state that a myth has been put forth that the bond total cost is incorrect.  The WSD has stated over and over that the total bond cost is $350 million.  What you failed to inform anyone, including the city council as of this date, is that there is an underwriting fee of $11,697,000.00 and the total bond cost, as indicated in your stage 2 supplemental documents is $361,697,000.00.   That document is on page 104 of the stage 2 supplemental WSD issued release.  You also speak about the escalation being built into the total cost.  On all of the school construction projects that I am part of, we carry a 7-8% cost escalation.  Why is the WSD carrying a 15% cost escalation? 

Point 2.  MYTH - You are projecting that the sole loss of students from the Warwick School System is the buildings themselves.  Making  this statement as fact is not only a blatant lie that you cannot substantiate, but is a defense of the abysmal grades and embarrassing proficiencies scores that the Warwick schools educational protocol has produced for not only years, but for decades.  If you believe that the structure itself is the defining mechanism for proficiency in education, then we are in worse shape then I could have imagined.  Families are leaving the Warwick school system because it is failing our children.  The failure is union controlled, the emphasis is not and has never been the kids, it is union wages, union benefits, union contract always the first priority.  In this statement, you fail to quantify your comment with any statistics.  For example, look at the private high schools that Warwick is losing students to, and many of those students are the children of Warwick teachers.  That in itself speaks volumes.  Hendricken and Prout teachers are paid less, tuition costs are $15,000 vs $22,000 in Warwick per student, and the education far exceeds the Warwick public school system.  Please address that issue.  Last year Hendricken's senior class received $30 million in scholarships.  What did Warwick receive?  

Point 3.  MYTH - No one has ever said that "not all students across the city need or deserve new schools".  I am shocked that you would make a statement like that as it discredits your moral character as you know that that statement has never been made.  You should be ashamed of yourself for stating that.  The fact of the matter is that politics and "equity and inclusion" are the primary driving forces for building 2 schools at the same time.  Also, a phrase that you continually use, "21st century learning".  You have never defined that statement in any publication.  Do you not believe that the taxpayer deserves a definition and data of that catch phrase?  Again, yet another example of not bringing the facts and the truth to the people of Warwick.  So in essence, your statement again is relative to the structure and not the curriculum.  That in itself is disturbing and a fundamental flaw of your analysis.  

Point 4.  MYTH - Tax increases -  Your projection of the tax increases is based on Mr. Schaffer’s "best case scenario" of Feb. 2022 showing a 75% annual property tax increase and showing a $2.9 million dollar annual deficit, inclusive of no cost over runs on the project.   You fail to recognize his June 2022 document that indicates that in 2027 Warwick can easily experience $50 million dollar annual deficits.  In addition, the tax increase that myself and others have projected are inclusive of all city spending and not just the impact of the schools.  You would have understood that if you gave us the courtesy of listening to our point of view, but in Warwick, that is not the case.  You also speak constantly using the term "shared sacrifice".  Please tell me what is your personal sacrifice?  Will you pay more taxes?  The answer is no because you and 1,287 other members of the WSD do not live in Warwick.  Will the teachers opt to not take any more annual raises?  That's a no for sure.  Will the other city unions agree to wage freezes?  Not likely.  So please specify for all of us what the shared sacrifice is for the 68% of the Warwick School Dept. employees who do not live in Warwick.

Lynn,  I am deeply disturbed by how the way the WSD and the dysfunctional city council has engineered the public's voice out of this subject which has the propensity to indebt generations of our children.  Is there no education relative to finance and debt incorporated into the WSD curriculum?  Maybe we need to look at that as well.  The point is that you have conveniently failed to have ample time dedicated to answering questions of the public.  In fact, at both Pilgrim and Toll Gate, you made your speech then left the stage and failed to field both simple and complex questions.  I was deeply disappointed by that and I have always held you in high regard.  But the fact of the matter is that this project has not been vetted, is in its current form not good for the residents of Warwick, and needs to be re-examined.  

As always, I invite any public debate with you or any other body, but as we both know, the WSD will not allow that option as this is pure politics at its worst.  

Best regards,

Rob Cote

letter, letteres


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