The North Kingstown School Committee got a glimpse of what the school system might look like next year after . However, those proposed cuts only showed half the picture of the “best case scenario” — i.e. if the North Kingstown Town Council increases the school department’s budget to the maximum amount of four percent. (Click here for the full list of proposed cuts.)
In addition to staff reductions (including the elimination of high school librarians and clerks, reorganization of the athletic director’s position, reduction of two sixth-grade teachers) and supply cuts, Auger recommends the removal of one bus from regular routes (netting $60,000 in savings) and nearly $436,000 in cuts to custodial and cafeteria services, part of the school department’s support staff — the North Kingstown Educational Support Professionals (ESP). According to Auger, these cuts could involve either the outsourcing of custodial and cafeteria services or a series of alternative cuts, pending contract negotiations. Nearly 50 ESP members attended the last School Committee meeting to oppose the proposed outsourcing and cuts to their department.
More programs and positions may be headed to the budget guillotine depending on how much money is raised through taxes. The . If the school department’s revenue receives a 4 percent increase (about $3 million), it will only need to cut $1.6 million. However, with the council level-funding the school department for the past few years, Auger warns that the $1.6 million shortfall could be as much as $3.2 million if the same happens this year.
Auger also offered additional cuts for two other scenarios — one if the school department is level funded and another if it receives half of the maximum amount of tax dollars the town can raise. The former of the two scenarios shows a school department with no sports programs, no after-school programs, deeper cuts to ESP and more.
“I can’t imagine the school district without sports, without music and without the staff I have,” said Auger.
If the school department receives no tax support, Auger said the district may be forced to forego accreditation from the New England Association of Schools and College (NEASC), slated for later this year. Auger said that without athletics, music and extracurricular programs the district might lose during the upcoming budget season, accreditation may be unlikely.
“During a visit year, you’re paying for a whole team to come here and stay for the week,” said Auger, who estimated the visit and subsequent accreditation report would cost the district $30,000.
Auger said he hopes the School Committee will approve his first round of cuts, reflecting a 4 percent increase in tax dollar revenue, to pass on to the Town Council. The other two scenarios, he says, will also go on to the council for informational purposes.
Tonight’s meeting starts at 7 p.m. at