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Town Will Continue to Review School Spending Following Court Decision

A Superior Court judge has ordered the North Kingstown School Department to curb spending until a project deficit is eliminated.

School spending will continue to be monitored by the town’s finance director following the decision of Judge Brian Stern in Superior Court yesterday.

In December, the when the school committee approved expenditures after the discovery a , due in part to an unanticipated revenue shortfall. The town’s finance director warned the committee against spending while projecting a deficit, citing state law.

The court found that the town’s argument that, under state law, school spending must be reviewed and authorized by the town's finance director until the projected deficit is eliminated.

The school department, however, asserted that the town was responsible for making up the lost revenue – citing a case out of Tiverton.

Since December, the town and school department have worked together under a court-approved consent agreement to solve the revenue shortfall.

“I feel like we have done a lot to show that we have cut our spending,” said School Superintendent Phil Auger. “Without any help from the court, the deficit has gone down to about $250,000.”

According to Auger, the shrinking deficit is due in part to spending freezes and this winter’s unusually warm temperatures, which have kept heating costs low.

In late December, the school department to remedy the possible shortfall to the state’s auditor general. They are still awaiting a response.

The court also decided that the town's appropriation for the school department's budget is $58,092,043 – the original amount appropriated. According to Auger, the department may not be in danger of a revenue shortfall now that the original appropriation has been restored as the . Auger says the town and school officials will meet next week to determine whether the schools face a deficit.

Govstench March 30, 2012 at 07:37 PM
If they wanted to save $115,000, they should have left the finance director's position open and continued with the present arrangement. That would have cut that deficit almost in half.
Dark star March 30, 2012 at 11:56 PM
Did Thornton oops Auger say "spending freezes" ? Earlier this month he spent over 40k for a pickup truck and now $115k on a replacement for Draper. Is that what you characterize as a"spending freeze"?
NK_Voter March 30, 2012 at 11:57 PM
Taxpayers should contact school council members and get a copy of the decision. It was a very interesting read. Adding staff not budgeted for, poor planning and so forth. Why is the school council not doing their appointed job? Why is the majority under Mr. Welch assisting the Superintendent in approving a new financial director and not working with the Town Council? Thank you Town Council for getting these fiscally irresponsible people under control.
NKGOP Watch March 31, 2012 at 07:23 AM
yeah dam straight bro! that school council under mister welch needs a good whoopin bro! idiot
NK_Voter March 31, 2012 at 08:09 PM
I diaagree. Welch isn't an idiots, he just has an agenda tied to union pandering, However, your silly insults tell us all we need to know about your character.
NKGOP Watch March 31, 2012 at 08:24 PM
okay dopey, dick welch (D) is not chairman so the committee is not "under him". kim page (R) is chair, and she supports the 6 million loan for the roofs and other things. as to dick welch "union pandering" you must be talking about another dick welch in some other community far far away. dick w is a fiscal conservative. if you are thinking those things, maybe your prescription needs adjusting, because you have it ALL wrong.
NK_Voter April 01, 2012 at 03:59 PM
Sure he is--or likes to say so. His actions speak differently. He's the head democrat in a democrat majority council. He was on the hiring committee for the new financial director. He isn't doing his job--the schools aren't being maintained, the SD is over budget and thought, with SC concurrence, that they could just pass the bill for their irresponsibility to the town. The recent judges decision slapped their wrist. Welch supports the bond--as did all his party marching lock-step in support of business as usual. That's all we really need to know. So go ahead with your fact-free rants and silly insults--it's all you have....
Russ105 April 12, 2012 at 07:18 PM
The town council has been trying for many years to consolidate some of the functions between the town and the school dept. They have been trying for over five years to consolidate the IT departments, and it is still not done. The school dept has been blocking consolidation in many areas such as IT, Building Maintenance, Finance and Payroll. I congratulate Mr. Embury and the town council for there efforts, but I fear that the only way this will be accomplished is with a new school committee, and a new Superintendent. I hope the voters remember all this when the time comes.

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