June 1, 2009

"It's For the Children": Legitimate Plea or Nice Window Dressing?

Monique Chartier

On Friday, Andrew highlighted a letter to the editor laying out some of the issues that has prompted the June 9 Referendum, at which the town will decide whether to cut the school fund property tax appropriation (not the entire school budget) by 2.7%.

This sign, urging a "no" vote on the cut, has popped up in some locations around town. It incorporates a theme that A.R. readers may be familiar with.


Below, however, are the budget cuts which Superintendent Robert Hicks has recommended to the School Committee should the referendum pass.

Custodial Supervision: $80,000

2 Teaching Assistants: $60,000

HVAC Technician: $50,000

Middle School athletics: $60,000

Grade 7/8 math position (stimulus): $75,000

P accounts (texts, supplies, materials): $100,000

Ed Programs (CARES, FCE, Smile): $50,000

1.0 Elementary Band: $75,000

0.5 Elementary Strings: $40,000

1.0 Middle School Guidance: $75,000

2.0 HS (Language, Art, FCS, Tech-Ed): $150,000

2.0 Support (Psych, OT, SLP, PT, SW): $150,000

Technology: $110,000

Maintenance Supplies: $40,000

0.6 K-5 Art, Library, Music reductions: $60,000

Undesignated Fund Maximization: $125,000

TOTAL: $1,300,000

And an excerpt from the memo explaining the rationale.

However, at this stage I compile a list not of what we should reduce, but what we can reduce. We still need to operate our classrooms, heat our buildings, and remain safe. We still need to uphold laws and regulations and honor our contractual obligations.
Comments, although monitored, are not necessarily representative of the views Anchor Rising's contributors or approved by them. We reserve the right to delete or modify comments for any reason.

Are you saying that those cuts would not have an impact on the education of the kids of South Kingstown?

Posted by: Jon at June 1, 2009 3:05 PM

FYI, for those interested in the SK referendum: there is a public forum at Peace Dale Elementary School tomorrow, June 2 at 7pm. Town Councilor Jim O'Neill will debate School Committee Chair Tony Mega. I assume the public will be allowed to speak and/or ask questions.

Posted by: Jon at June 1, 2009 5:29 PM

Only the school committee has the power of line items in the school budget. Only the bottom line can be controlled by the Town Council and the voters. The school committee has the authority to move line items in a school budget already adopted as they see fit. The question needs to be is how often are line items foolwed after the budgets for schools have been adopted?
In Chariho, the town councils have no real authority to approve the school budgets like single member school districys like South Kingstown. Even then the SK Town Council cannot make the SK School Committee to follow line items in the adopted school budget.
Scott Bill Hirst

Posted by: Scott Bill Hirst at June 3, 2009 4:04 PM

Can the school committee revise some work rules to accommodate some of the proposed cuts,or is the labor side of the budget not flexible.

Posted by: Carmino at June 4, 2009 11:33 AM
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