After delaying action , the North Kingstown School Committee made $1.6 million in cuts to make up a $2.7 million shortfall for the fiscal 2013 budget.
The two most controversial of these cuts were the removal of s for a total savings of $46,050. Superintendent Phil Auger noted that the latter two were cut due to “higher relative cost and lower relative participation.”
“I hope that we’re going to run those sports next year but it is my hope to do so with private funds,” said Auger.
Early in the discussion, Vice Chairman Richard Welch suggested keeping the sports programs but nixing two positions that Auger wanted to add for the upcoming year — a fulltime special education paraprofessional ($35,000) and a part-time business partnerships coordinator at the high school ($37,000). Welch suggested using the funding for those new positions to instead fund the sports programs that were on the chopping block. According to Auger, the business partnership coordinator would work with businesses and raise money to support extracurricular programs at the school.
“I think that’s pretty forward thinking,” said School Committee Member John Boscardin. “That could help us support sports for years to come.”
After Welch’s motion was shot down, the committee moved on to pass the superintendent’s list of reductions as proposed. Committee Member Bill Mudge said he would not be voting on any cuts that night, asserting that Auger’s figures were “incorrect” and that making any decision that night would be “ludicrous.” The gavel came out during the contentious debate as Chairwoman Kimberly Page attempted to quell Mudge, at one point muting the microphones.
The $2.7 million in cuts is a compilation of inflation, . (The smaller allocation was due to a projected change in state aid and the department’s deficit woes earlier this year.) According to Auger, the $2.7 million may shrink once state aid is finalized and when the school department settles an arbitration case with the Educational Support Professionals union which, combined, could amount to an additional $1.6 million back in the schools’ piggybank.
Other cuts made Tuesday night included reductions to music and arts programming and supplies ($15,000), reducing supplies district-wide ($134,000), cutting two teachers from the high school ($125,000), cutting a library clerk and a library from the high school ($50,000), cutting an elementary school teacher ($62,500), transferring transitional students from Perspectives to an in-house program ($100,000) and more. Check the full list of cuts here.
The measure was passed 4-3, with Mudge, Boscardin and Melvoid Benson opposing.