The Woonsocket School Committee voted for first passage of their draft budget totalling $69,850,000 tonight.
School Committee Chair Anita Forcier-McGuire was not present because she and Superintendent Giovanna Donoyan are attending a conference. The remaining members unanimously voted for first passage.
The next step in the process, said Committee member Chris Roberts, is second passage, which could happen as early as Tuesday or Wednesday of next week. That vote will be strictly pass/fail, he said. Any needed changes discovered now will be included as an amendment.
"What we had last year was unrealistic," Committee Vice Chair Vimala Phongsavanh said. Earlier Wednesday, City Finance Director Thomas Bruce echoed her assessment. He said the current budget is a much closer estimate of the true cost to operate the school department than the one the city's been working with so far. Last year's budget was set at $59 million.
Phongsavanh commended her fellow Committee members for their hard work over the last few weeks to comb through the budget line by line. She also praised department leaders. "The directors did work very hard on getting us accurate numbers," Phongsavanh said.