By ALEX MALM
The first of two Warwick School Committee budget hearings will take place this coming Tuesday, April 19, and while there has been speculation on what may be cut the …
By ALEX MALM
The first of two Warwick School Committee budget hearings will take place this coming Tuesday, April 19, and while there has been speculation on what may be cut the Administration wouldn’t offer any specifics when asked Monday.
“We’re still polishing it,” said Superintendent Lynn Dambruch.
The second budget hearing is slated for April 23. Once the hearings are completed the School Committee will vote to recommend a budget which then gets forwarded to the City Council who has final say in ratifying the budget.
Assistant Superintendent Bill McCaffrey said that the public will have a chance to see the proposed budget Friday.
“Right now we’re still finishing up the details on the budget. We’ll have more information Friday,” said McCaffrey.
Despite not offering any specifics on Monday Dambruch said that the Administration has been discussing different cuts. Of the current budget $129.9 million is funded by the city and $40.2 million by the state.
The process of honing the budget has begun although it is expected to continue after being presented to the committee.
“We did have many meetings making some cuts to the budget,” said Dambruch.
Warwick Early Learning Center
Over the weekend multiple public posts were made on Facebook speculating that possible cuts could be made to the budget regarding the Warwick Early Learning Center after Director of Special Services Gary Coppolino met with staff on Friday.
But on Monday Coppolino said the meeting wasn’t about making cuts.
“I think the story is a little bit misconstrued,” he said.
Coppolino said when he met with staff he wanted to engage them in an activity where they look at how to get more students into WELC without increasing staff.
“How do we see more kids, how do we expand our program,” said Coppolino.
One of the specific things that Coppolino wanted to get feedback on was in regards to one of their current classes that is four hours long. Aside from the one class, all of the other classes are either two and a half hours or six hours.
Due to logistical issues including bussing, Coppolino said that they need to look at either moving the class down to two and a half hours or increasing it to six.
Coppolino thinks that people took it as him wanting to make cuts to the program.
“I think people got very nervous,” said Coppolino.
In fact Coppolino said that he hopes to be able to expand the program during his tenure without increasing staff which is also what was discussed during the informal discussion.
“My goal, my vision has always been to expand our WELC program,” said Coppolino.
Earlier in his career Coppolino said that he was an early interventionist.
“I understand the value of really educating our youngest students to give them foundational skills that will get them ready for kindergarten and will get them ready for life. I genuinely want to strengthen the program,” said Coppolino.
Coppolino said that he told the staff at the meeting that the meeting wasn’t about making any cuts to the program.
“I was very clear with the staff that we weren’t making any cuts to staff, transportation, we were keeping things in place,” said Coppolino.
As far as changes to the four hour class, Coppolino said that no decision has been made and last Friday’s conversation was just a way to see what staff thinks.
“It was a brainstorming conversation that I think was taken as an end all be all conversation,” said Coppolino.
The Beacon will have an updated story online when the proposed budget becomes available.
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