RIDE squashes Warwick Schools’ cost-saving requests

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WARWICK, R.I. (WPRI) — Warwick School Committee members will have to find another way to help close a $6 million budget gap for the upcoming school year.

The Rhode Island Department of Education Friday announced it was denying each of the district’s “alternatives and/or variances” it requested in a July 17 letter.

Among the cost-saving requests, the school committee asked for permission to charge students $1 a day to ride the school bus, eliminate bus monitors, and to charge for middle and high school sports.

After receiving $6 million less than hoped for from the Warwick City Council, the school committee announced massive cuts at a school board meeting last week.

The committee is required by state law to balance the budget and some of the cuts had required RIDE’s approval.

“Warwick schools are facing a very difficult budgetary situation this year, having recently cut $6.6 from the budget to balance with the FY ’19 city appropriation,” said Superintendent Philip Thornton, Warwick School Department. “With today’s decision from the commissioner, declining the waivers request, the district will not move forward with next steps in an effort to secure more funding for Warwick Schools.”

Thornton said the next steps include meeting with the mayor and city council president. He also said a special meeting of the school committee would be scheduled.

Eyewitness News is working to gather reaction to RIDE’s decision and will update this story throughout the day and tonight on Eyewitness News on WPRI 12. 

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