February 18, 2009

West Warwick Teacher Layoffs

Marc Comtois

In the ProJo story about West Warwick handing out 188 layoff notices (wow!), there was this little nugget:

State law requires that teachers be notified by March 1 that they will no longer have jobs the following September, and many school districts routinely send out pink slips by the deadline while acknowledging that most, if not all, of them will not actually be exercised.

But West Warwick has not sent out such notices in 17 years, and officials said that at least 30 of the 188 teachers targeted for the notices this year are likely to be let go.

A no-layoffs clause in the district’s contract with the West Warwick Teachers Alliance was modified last September to allow layoffs under circumstances that include “uncertainty or lack of funding in programs and /or positions that are totally supported by federal or state funds.” {Emphasis added}.

Is it any wonder we find ourselves where we are now, with School Committees bargaining away management rights to the extent that they even gave up their ability to lay-off employees?

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And this is from the same town that wanted the rest of the state's taxpayers to bail it out of the Station Fire settlement to which it had agreed.

Message to West Warwick: your elected officials have shown themselves to be incompentent. They've hired negligent fire inspectors, agreed to legal judgements the town couldn't afford and agreed to employment terms that bind the hands of education officials.

West Warwick should replace every elected official and start from scratch.

Posted by: Anthony at February 18, 2009 1:58 PM

More on WW….

The Former Chair of the School Committee, the man who oversaw this debacle, is now employed at the State House thanks to Speaker Murphy.

The WW Town Solicitor, the man who makes $$$ anytime the School Committee brings a legal action against the town, is the brother of the Vice Chair of the School Committee.

Wonder if anyone sought an opinion from the Ethics Commission on this?

One wonders when the Projo will ask how much the Town has paid the Solicitor over the past years. How would it compare to other municipalities in the state? Then ask about other legal costs.

Why did Speaker Murphy push to get Rep J. Patrick O’Neil appointed as Municipal Prosecutor? Ever wonder why O’Neil fails to move forward with cases that might embarrass Speaker Murphy’s friends?

WW is a JOKE!

The WW Teacher’s Alliance routinely endorsed and contributed to Murphy, Williamson and Alves. Better yet, they have their offices in the WW School Department Administration Building!

Some members of the WW Town Council are trying to clean up this mess but are being opposed by some of the current and former power brokers.

Just ask how the Former President of the president of the WW Town Council ended up as a Leg Counsel on Smith Hill at over $117K per annum? Now that Montalbano is out, he’s working for Fox at almost $110K per year!

The town is on the brink of the abyss and Murphy; Williamson et al aren’t even bothering to ask how they can help.

WW needs to file for Chapter 11!

Posted by: Biagio at February 18, 2009 3:12 PM

"Why did Speaker Murphy push to get Rep J. Patrick O’Neil appointed as Municipal Prosecutor?"

Because he was the one who knocked out former Speaker John Harwood.

Posted by: Patrick at February 18, 2009 3:19 PM

To add fuel to the fire....

One member of the WW Town Council is employed by the RI Department of Education.
His wife is a WW teacher.

They weren’t at the meetings though as they are off on vacation in Hawaii. One wonders how many “professional days” are given to WW teachers or if she was “sick”?

Anyone catch the name of the Teachers union president? Donald E. Vanasse.

Any relation to a member of the WW School Committee? Bruce Vanasse.

I don’t know for sure but WW is known for insider politics.

Just ask Rep Williamson.

Better yet, ask Dan Yorke how’s the golfing at the WW Country Club!

Too bad the Projo seems to be playing nice-nice with the politicians in West Warwick.

Aren’t we all looking forward to visiting the WW Water Park that WW Councilman Calci touted would enrich the tax coffers on the eve of the election. There was NEVER any financing in place yet, this Councilman informed the voters that he had played a key role in bringing this venue to the town when he knew full well it will never happen. He was instrumental in pushing for legislation which places the taxpayers on the hook for over $18 million in Ta Anticipation Notes.

Perhaps now you’ve gained some insight as to why WW is so dysfunctional!

Posted by: Biagio at February 18, 2009 3:31 PM

When the whole place is a haven for nepitism, what do you expect. It's very tough to ever hold someone accountable.

Posted by: Steve A. at February 18, 2009 3:50 PM

Ah the Myriad of Gordian Knots the progressives have tied the state into.
Smugly, they congratulate themselves on their battles won.
Meanwhile, as productive people flee...(snip-c'mon Mike)[we]...slowly lose the war.

Posted by: Mike at February 18, 2009 7:11 PM

Only 188?

The question is, can East Providence beat them?

Posted by: W at February 19, 2009 1:44 AM

Now you know why Carolyn Fox used to call West Warwick the doggie-style capital of the university.
They've been on the verge of bankruptcy for about 30 years now, but give them credit: at least they got rid of Alves.

Posted by: rhody at February 19, 2009 3:26 AM

Looks like WW is more of a pink-eyed village than EP.

Posted by: kathy at February 19, 2009 3:19 PM

The problem is far less diabolical than folks are making it out to be. It is very simply the result of out of control terms and conditions being agreed to by the school committee over and over again for decades. It is like interest in that the problems compound over time. As a result, teachers in the district are overpaid to the tune of about $4000 per year and, generally speaking, do very little to earn that pay, as evidenced repeatedly by our schools' performance numbers. Furthermore, the existing contract has rendered administration impotent in making the changes necessary to improve the education offered in the district. Ultimately, it is students who pay the heaviest price for the preservation of the status quo. Very simply: the teachers' union has had a stranglehold on central and building level administration and the town for as long as anyone can remember and nothing short of a complete housecleaning is going to dent the issue in West Warwick.

Posted by: about time at February 21, 2009 6:27 PM
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