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NK School Committee OKs $58.7 Million School Budget for 2012-13

Provisions include reducing, reorganizing and retiring more teachers and other staff, and assumes Town Council will raise school funding by 4 percent

Faced with , the North Kingstown School Committee on Tuesday reduced its original plans and approved a $58,532,487 budget for fiscal year 2013, which begins in July.

The budget, prepared by School Superintendent Phil Auger and his staff, assumes North Kingstown will raise local taxes by the maximum legally allowed of 4 percent and will raise its contribution to the school budget by an equal percentage.

Auger said that because most of the school budget is governed by contracts and other legal provisions with built-in cost increases, the approved budget nevertheless requires $1.4 million in cuts.

Among them: reducing or eliminating some teaching, library, and other staff jobs, including a savings of $431,846 in the cost of support professionals. Auger has said if the schools cannot resolve the current impasse and reach a contract with the North Kingstown Education Support Professionals, custodial and food service jobs will be . Later in the evening, School Committee member Bill Mudge was added to the negotiating team, replacing Joe Thompson, who .

The approved budget also slashes school supplies, removes one bus from educational routes, transfers some young adult special-education students from out-of-district programs back to North Kingstown, reduces funds for professional development and ends participation in the National School Board Association.

However, as Auger mentioned, the town has not increased school funding for two years. At the Feb. 7 meeting, Auger also explained the further cuts that would ensue if the town raises its contribution by only 2 percent, and the changes that would be required if the schools receive no increase.

In addition to the cuts already approved, a 2 percent funding increase would require cuts of $868,417, including these: reduction of elementary music instruction, adding after-school music instead; end spending on middle school and freshman sports; removal of spending on high school hockey, tennis, gymnastics, swim and golf teams; reduction of middle school and high school music programs; removal of an additional bus; reduction in spending on cleaning and maintenance; ending the E-portfolio program for graduating high school seniors; and removal of another $200,000 in education support spending.

Level funding would require an additional $716,330 in cuts. To reach that, Auger proposes an end to after-school activities, including athletics; removing a late bus; removing after-school academic support at the middle and high schools; reducing and reorganizing special education services; ending efforts to obtain NEASC accreditation; reducing summer guidance programs; and further reductions in clerical and custodial services.

About 40 people attended the budget session, and nearly a dozen made comments protesting the cuts. Several asked the schools to reach an agreement with NKESP. Several speakers vowed to lobby the Town Council for more spending as well.

Several speakers and School Committee member Melvoid Benson said that the school administrative department appeared to face few cuts in the proposed budget. Auger said that budget includes reduced spending for the athletic director and the director of the physical plant. Larry Ceresi said that the number of administrative positions has been dropping for several years, and that many administrators have had salaries frozen for two years and are paying much more for health insurance.

Regarding the current year budget, Business Director Ned Draper said that the $1.2 million deficit has eased to about $300,000, in part because expense cutbacks and mild weather.

Richard Welch said that the to repair the Davisville Middle School roof and other facilities, which was approved by the School Committee and the Town Council, appears to be on track for final approval by the General Assembly. If approved, the bond issue will go before voters in the spring unless the town agrees to pay for the middle school roof.

NKRI Transparency February 08, 2012 at 06:14 PM
Last I recall there was a review of School spending with a goal of finding means to reducing expenses.....has this been completed? Are there any recommendations? Have they been implemented? Any and all opportunities for cost savings should be implemented avoiding tax increases. It’s unfortunate that the SC is reluctant to be fiscally responsible. Also looks as through the SC is looking to have the minority demand more from the TC. How about the teachers doing the right thing "for the kids"!
NK voter February 08, 2012 at 07:00 PM
Dream on NKRI--when has a Teacher's union voluntarily given anything back? They are VERY quiet on this subject. I await the TC accountants report on the school budget--it should be interesting. These council meetings--town and school--are useless. They get packed by people with an axe to grind or something to lose; the cafeteria workers, firefighters, teachers. What the TC and SC need to remember is the last vote--two to one against an increase in school spending at the pols. People may not have the time to get to the meetings, but they make time to get to the pols--and they are behind the TC efforts to keep tax increases low.
NKRI Transparency February 08, 2012 at 08:28 PM
NK voter- am I missing something? I "think" we are on the same page.
NKGOP Watch February 09, 2012 at 06:47 AM
A 4% TAX HIKE - THE MAX ALLOWED... WIRED DIRECTLY.... INTO THE UNION TEACHERS PERSONAL CHECKING ACCOUNTS.
Noreswindnk February 09, 2012 at 12:13 PM
Obviously the problem stems from the signing of a teachers contract with escalators. Now the signers of same and all others involved have the kids stuck in the middle between the taxpayers wishing to keep some of the money they earn and the teachers who want every bit they can get. What's bad are those who say taxpayers must give more cause "it's for the kids" while the answer is right there in the middle of the contract with teachers. Nobody's saying teachers aren't worthy, hardworking people. No argument, however here's an opportunity for you to be a role model too, and stand up FOR THE KIDS. You can be their heros and the town's as well. While you did nothing wrong, and this was no fault of your own, you can solve it. Teachers, contact your union rep and say you want to help the kids. Be a hero.
Govstench February 10, 2012 at 12:39 PM
The budget commission secured Rhode Island Building Energy Code (RIBEC) funds that will be used to finance a $9 million project that will renovate East Providence schools. Think this town can think that far outside the box to get funds to fix the schools? No, they have to continue to soak the taxpayers. Perhaps they should call the commission to see if there are any funds left!
NKRI Transparency February 10, 2012 at 01:38 PM
Mark, without a 4% cap we would be depositing our checks in the union mail box. You might want to look at who is actually directing, promoting and supporting the occupy movement as a supposedly representation of the 99%.
NKRI Transparency February 11, 2012 at 02:49 PM
Any doubt - see approx 1/2 way down the article: http://www.golocalprov.com/politics/trav1/
NKGOP Watch February 12, 2012 at 05:08 AM
That's always been the trouble with the useful idiots. When you go to actually use them, sometimes they just act like idiots!
Mary Churchill-DaSilva February 12, 2012 at 03:06 PM
I am tired of the same people commenting with the same uninformed ideas. Come and listen to the cuts they are making by attending a school committee meeting! The superintendent has made many concessions and the SC has voted for them. Unfortunately, energy costs, supplies, and other nonnegotiable costs continute to increase. I am saddened that some people, perhaps those without children in the school system, continue to bash the school dept. and the idea of investing in the future, which is the education of our children. If the TC decides once again to 0% increase in funding for NK schools, the students will be the ones to suffer a downgrade in their education. NK will no longer be the great school system it has been and will no longer attract young families to the town. So sad!
Mike February 12, 2012 at 04:07 PM
What then are your "informed" ideas, Mary? Keep throwing money at the NK Schools and let taxes continue to climb and town services continue to be cut? What exactly are the other "nonnegotiable" costs that continue to increase that you failed to mention--that are negotiable such as Teacher pay and benefits? We have forgotten, it seems, what schools are for. They are to educate children--not a jobs and pension generation mill for teachers. And because we have forgotten is why 80% of the school budget, teacher pay and benefits, are off limits according to Dr. Auger. And that's why the kids will lose programs--and the teachers will be untouched.
NKRI Transparency February 12, 2012 at 06:03 PM
Mary, I wish people that write as you do would look around to see what is really going on. As you say "it's for the kids" well, where are the teachers when giving back will help to resolve much if not all of current issues. I'm not sure of your expectations and where the money is to come from. To be honest I am suspect that you are a part of the union that keeps wanting until there is no more to give.
NKGOP Watch February 16, 2012 at 07:51 PM
"well, where are the teachers when giving back will help to resolve much if not all of current issues" SO RIGHT
NKRI Transparency February 27, 2012 at 07:01 PM
I wonder when people will get it http://www.pbn.com/US-governors-have-few-answers-as-cities-face-bankruptcy-risk,65672
Concerned Citizen February 27, 2012 at 07:46 PM
Nobody is saying anyone should "throw money at the schools". But by saying we should "keep" throwing money at the schools implied that we have been doing that. Nobody has thrown any money at the schools - they have been living on essentially the same amount of money from the Town for the past few years. As you know, many expenses have gone up in that time. Things like gas, heathcare etc. To think that the schools can operate on the same amount of money next year as they did two and even three years ago makes no sense. Its time to give our schools the funding they need - not to slowly strangle away the great school system and programs we have now.
Concerned Citizen February 27, 2012 at 07:50 PM
You need to put that referendum in perspective. It was essentially a vote, spearheaded by the ESP union folks to try to take the outsourcing pressure off their members. It was hardly a referendum on whether we should increase school spending. I fully support increasing school spending, but did not support that referendum. Be careful how much you read into that vote.
NKRI Transparency February 27, 2012 at 08:31 PM
I only have one question....where do those that expect additional scholl funding expect the money to come from.....please, someone tell me.
NKRI Transparency February 27, 2012 at 08:33 PM
Please tell me where you expect the additional funding to come from?
Mike February 28, 2012 at 06:27 PM
Dear CC, You make some good points, but conveniently leave out others. Yes, town dollars towards the schools have been fairly even over the last two years, but the school budget is made of much more than town dollars--state and federal funds just to name two--and the school budget has been increasing over the years. The summary from the Town's 2011-12 budget (pg 4) is pretty clear: • FY 2012 General Fund Budget is $7,796 LESS than FY 2011 • FY 2012 School Fund is $2,520,692 more than FY 2011 • General Fund employee count has declined by 30.5 positions between FY 2001 and FY 2012; 6.7 fewer positions from FY 2011 to FY 2012 • FY 2011 and FY 2012 salary lines show minor increases due to 26.5 pay periods rather than 25 due to the fall of the calendar. • Non-union town employees will not receive a base salary increase for the second time on three years and those who have step and/or longevity increases coming will not be receiving those increases. Finally, the NK school system is less than "great." There is a reason the NKSD compares NK to other RI school departments rather than, let's say, the higher performing MA and CT schools. Frankly, a high school that has less than 50% of the Juniors testing "proficient" in math is failing both the students and RI. Money won't fix that problem--accountability might.
Govstench March 03, 2012 at 10:07 PM
Another bill was filed at the Greater Rhode Island Sausage Factory - S2239 by the union hack Tassoni. He actually got it right this time. "Would vest school committees with the powers and duties over the direct provision of educational services, indlucing, but not limited to, the hiring and retention of personnel, the content and curriculum to be provided, educational administration, and the pedagogy employed. In contrast, the city and town councils would have direct control over the direct financial aspects of the education, indlucing total budgets to be extended, the amount of salaries, the grounds of the schools outside of school buildings including, but not limited to, outside maintenance, and any other direct expenditure of money. This act would not effect or apply to any municipality in receivership, or the Central Falls school district board of trustees established by section 16-2-34. So the school finance department would be merged into the town's, saving the taxpayers money.
NKRI Transparency March 03, 2012 at 10:51 PM
As much as I am hopeful that good intentions are implied, I'm having a difficult time not thinking that there is an ulterior motive. Time will tell.
NKRI Transparency March 09, 2012 at 12:25 PM
For any interested there is two interesting articles titled "The Issue: who's in control" and "Another Pension Tsunami" in the Opinion section of the Independent newspaper.
NKRI Transparency March 10, 2012 at 03:58 PM
Saturday morning readind with your coffee: http://www.golocalprov.com/politics/travis-rowley7/
NKRI Transparency March 11, 2012 at 03:07 PM
Stay informed: http://www.necn.com/03/09/12/RI-lawmakers-revive-binding-arbitration-/landing_politics.html?&apID=492d86ce30b54961afa9b66159b1e411
mark henricks March 11, 2012 at 08:58 PM
What a nightmare. Can't we just go back to the NK HS I loved in the 80's? Sex, Drugs, RockNRoll. Do. or Do Not. there is no try.
NKRI Transparency March 12, 2012 at 01:05 PM
stay informed: http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-18563_162-57395072/as-cities-go-broke-pensions-are-slashed/
NKRI Transparency March 13, 2012 at 12:58 PM
stay informed: http://www.golocalprov.com/politics/pacs1/
NKRI Transparency March 13, 2012 at 01:22 PM
stay informed: http://www.pbn.com/Lardaro-RI-economy-is-being-left-behind,66005
NKRI Transparency March 14, 2012 at 02:30 PM
Stay informed - perfect solution and relief for the taxpayer in having pension dollars fund the pension programs. http://wrnipoliticsblog.wordpress.com/2012/03/13/chafee-bill-allows-struggling-cities-and-towns-to-suspend-local-pension-colas/

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