Next Monday, Oct. 17, the North Kingstown Town Council and the North Kingstown School Committee will meet in a joint session to discuss the upcoming budget forecast for the next budget beginning July 1, 2012.
This public meeting should be attended by every resident in North Kingstown, every man, woman and student to learn what the next year will bring. Now is the time for anyone who cares about their tax bill, child's education and what services might be on the cutting block for both the town and school department.
This is just the beginning of the process to get to a budget that we can afford, and what will remain for our town services and school programs. Not showing up will not change the eventual outcome. The input from our community will help guide both the Town Council and the School Committee as to what you want North Kingstown to be going forward.
Our budgets are affected by the same influences that you experience at home — increased cost of fuel to run the busses and heat the buildings, increases in electricity, increases in labor cost for employees and outside vendors, increases in health insurance premiums and food service supplies.
One thing that both the town and school department are facing is a very large payment required to pay pension benefits, which for the school department is approximately $2.2 million in 2012. The School Committee asked for this meeting earlier this year to get a head start on this budget and to let our residents know the financial problems that all of us are facing in the coming year. We will need as much time as possible to accomplish this task and I would ask anyone who has any suggestions on how we can save money operating our schools to please step forward with your ideas as soon as possible. Every School Committee member can be reached by e-mail, and this information is listed on the North Kingstown School Department website.
Please don't wait until March to get involved and complain about the changes that are going to happen. If you are going to be concerned in March, you need to be at the meeting on Monday evening at 6 p.m. at the North Kingstown Senior Center.
North Kingstown School Committee