Woonsocket School Committee Reviews Draft Budget

Saturday working session examines line items in determining final figure.


As Woonsocket's School Committee reviewed a draft $64 million budget in advance of an anticipated vote on the document Monday, the final figure was increasing.

Nearly two hours in, the Committee had already added two $89,000 elementary school principal positions at Savoy and Harris Schools to the mix, in anticipation of thawing out a hiring freeze.

The Committee also added $550,000 for a capital budget, which would cover the biggest ticket item on a laundry list of needed fixes: a new boiler for Bernon Heights Elementary School with a likely cost of $500,000. The original request on the capital budget was $860,000.

At $550,000, Superintendent Giovanna Donoyan said, if they are forced to fix the boiler, "If one other thing happens, we'll be in deficit status right away." Committee member Chris Roberts said it was reasonable to ask the city for emergency funds should something catastrophic occur.

School Committee Chair Anita Forcier-McGuire said the ultimate budget figure was still a moving target. She stressed that the numbers they discussed do not take federal funding into account. With federal funds, she said, the final figure will likely reach the $70 million dollar range.

The School Committee has another meeting on the budget scheduled for Monday, May 14 at 5 p.m. The agenda for that meeting lists a vote on the budget, in anticipation of sending it to the Woonsocket City Council.

Tommy Tutone May 14, 2012 at 12:31 AM
Maybe we should all climb the money tree,huh Bob?
Tommy Tutone May 14, 2012 at 12:37 AM
bye bye taxpayer hater
Tommy Tutone May 14, 2012 at 01:01 AM
I know,it was a good joke!
Lavergne May 14, 2012 at 01:10 AM
First of all, Woonsocket and the 3 other communities are being discriminated by the State because we are a "distressed" community. So the State should make all cities/towns equal and spread the MONEY DUE US AND THE "special needs/housing/programs"etc. to all communities. Let the Barrington's and the East Greenwich's, etc. share the problems Woonsocket has and then we won't have so much of the rif/raff Woonsocket has become. Another thing, Woonsocket teachers sounds like their dedicated, but I'd say 400 of them won't live here,....Go figure..
Growing more concerned by the day! May 14, 2012 at 10:24 AM
Imzadi, Rights are endowed by our creator, Laws are created by politians. The only rights you are gaurenteed in this country are the right to "Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness". Tell me, when there is no "other People's money" left to support the education system,what will Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 do? Some politicain will need to revoke or amend the stated law to accommodate reality, hend=ce it's not a right. Politians call laws rights to gain political points with the uninformed.
Russell Archambault May 14, 2012 at 12:13 PM
lilian you make a very good point.One having an associate's degree.teach school. one having a batch. degree teach school. one having a master's degree, teach school. I would rather have a person with a doc. degree teach a child's A,B,C, at 2 or 3 times the salary. would,t you? I feel people hide behind their politically correct little whatever. I have no problem with paying fair salaries for fair labor. Keep in mind teachers= labor, nothing more nothing less. please do not put teachers on a different scale as our garbage collectors. teachers are people who work just like everyone else. thats it! they may have more degrees than some other person working at another job but education is not a teacher.
Imzadi May 14, 2012 at 01:36 PM
Dear Concerned Conservative, according to dictionary.com, the word "right" means a just claim or title, whether legal, prescriptive, or moral....so education is a right....a legal one. As for "other people's money", where on Earth did you get the thought that I don't pay taxes? My taxes pay for police, fire, municipal and school services for my family. Yes, city services are paid through taxes their citizens pay. I pay taxes and therefore receive services. If there is a way to change that, then I suggest that you come up with a solution, contact your reps/senators and submit your proposals. Other than that, you and your family will get the services that are due to you.
J. Head May 14, 2012 at 02:35 PM
We are losing site of what is really important here and that is the education of our children. Federal law states that we must provide a free public education to all students. That will not changes so please move on from that and let as a group find a way to do it fairly. I have lived my entire life living in Woonsocket and I still believe that it can be a great place to live. I pay my taxes and I no longer have children in the schools system. The state needs to step up and fund us properly! The state requires 10% affordable housing and during the last go around Woonsocket had 18% and the state said we should have more, but won't give us the proper money to educate the children who live in this housing.
Tommy Tutone May 14, 2012 at 02:53 PM
They can't print money out of thin air,the State's been running a deficit for a while now.State funding was never guaranteed,Woonsocket's on it's own and your wallet is the target.Maintaining the status quo means higher and higher taxes,if you think the supplemental is the end,think again.
J. Head May 14, 2012 at 03:22 PM
The state funding needs to be fair no matter what the amount is and the state should know that. What status quo are you talking about? And when did I say anything about the supplemental tax being the end of anything. You spew nothing but negative comments here with no thought to a solution or helping the cause. You able to comment here because some teacher took the time to teach you to write. I suffer the same tax burden as you and I know it will get harder before it ever gets better, but your doomsday attitude helps no one. You like to comment on my post but didn't say anything about the key points. Why? Because you can't debate the facts.
Tommy Tutone May 14, 2012 at 03:34 PM
I learned how to write in private school,not public.You live in a fairy tale world,all dependent on someone or something else to "fund" a system that needs restructuring.You write like you do because you can afford to pay,i can't.The Cavalry is not showing up,get used to it.Forewarned is forearmed.
J. Head May 14, 2012 at 03:53 PM
I can afford to pay because I'm not lazy and work two and three jobs at a time to make sure I have the money for the bills. Your so poor but you went to private school, I get it.... The system was set up this way for decades and it does need to be restructured but instead of crying and complaining about it, I know what needs to be done. If you hate it so much leave Woonsocket... Change is coming either get on board or get out of the way because when it does come this city will have little need for the likes of someone who can complain but can't bother be involved positively. Just for the record I have Masters degree from Brown University and I still have to work two jobs in this economy!
J. Head May 14, 2012 at 03:59 PM
You have dragged me into your negative world!! My apology to everyone else!!
Tommy Tutone May 14, 2012 at 04:11 PM
My apologies also.....for speaking the truth.
Tommy Tutone May 14, 2012 at 04:22 PM
My apologies also.....for speaking the truth.
David T May 14, 2012 at 05:18 PM
It's confusing, but the 64 mil doesn't include a projected 6 mil from a "restrictive grant" from the feds. Someone correct me if I'm wrong, but the 64 is the total budget without these "restrictive grant" services. The 64 comes from the city and state. So when added together, its 70. My question is what happened to saving money by closing Mcfee and putting them in the City Hall? This also doesn't include Full Day K. I thought we could have paid for this by eliminating elementary guidance and educational coaches.
Imzadi May 14, 2012 at 05:37 PM
J. Head is right....whether you learned from teachers in a public or private school, much of the funds come from the public. Private schools rely on public schools for transportation, books and special ed services. But this is not about school teachers. Teachers are simply people who are doing their jobs that they have chosen to do. This is about budgets and funding. If anyone has some quality ideas on how to restructure things, then by all means, send your ideas in. I don't think this should be just be a negative sounding board, but a place where people can comment and make suggestions.
joe May 14, 2012 at 05:48 PM
Not kidding. And 89K is the significant low end for running an elementary school.
joe May 14, 2012 at 05:49 PM
Sure. Where do you live, Mississippi?
Tommy Tutone May 14, 2012 at 05:56 PM
Actually,your first paragraph (as it pertains to me) is wrong.I went to Catholic school back in the '60's and was never bussed once.Books were paid for by my parents and were re-used back then.Special Ed......well,i don't know.Did it exist back then? Your second paragraph is a bulls eye,it'd be nice to hear some ideas on restructuring!
Lilian May 14, 2012 at 07:36 PM
Bye bye dead in the water you did say you were leaving town right? By the way I am a tax payer so how can I be a tax payer hater?????
English first May 14, 2012 at 07:49 PM
Tax meeting tonight. http://www.rifuture.org/woonsocket-residents-tonight-come-learn-how-taxing-the-rich-can-reduce-your-tax-burden.html
Tommy Tutone May 14, 2012 at 07:55 PM
It's easy,when you resort to name calling when someone dissents with you i have to assume you hate yourself.
Russell Archambault May 14, 2012 at 09:41 PM
the only reason why this topic is being talked about is because there isnt anymore money to hide behind. nothing is different in schools. nothing is going to change. unions will fight for themselves. we will fight for ourselves. education will remain the same.NOTHING will change,If someone doesnt change the system, dont expect anything. we can all have our say about teacher bashing union bashing but education will not change because there is no incentive for change. its alwasys in it for me syndrome.too much political bull.
Steve May 14, 2012 at 10:11 PM
How about this for an answer, plan your budget on what you’re actually GUARANTEED as funds going forward. This means City and State funds. This, “Well we think the state will come through with X amount of dollars, and the Federal funds will come through with X amount of dollars” has proven to be the Achilleas Heel of the budget planning process over the last five years and has thrown the city into financial turmoil. Plan your budget on what you actually know are definite sources of funding, and submit it as such. Don’t go wishing upon a star, hoping the extraneous funds will some how magically come through! If cuts are to be made, make them. As Bacon and Edge stated, it’s not that tough, submit a budget that can actually be adhered to. Get it done, and get it done now! And Dr. Donoyon, you hire another former Superintendent to come up with your budget? Doesn't that seem counterproductive seeing how you’re a Superintendent as well? Just asking...... No finance classes in that MBA you received?????
Steve May 14, 2012 at 10:24 PM
Oh, wait a minute, a PHD right? Finance must have been an elective?
Tommy Tutone May 14, 2012 at 10:28 PM
Absolute no brainer,the state giveth and the state taketh away.Can't count on 'em in bad times.Adopt a budget that everyone in the City can afford and treat these handouts as the luxuries they are.Declare your Independence Woonsocket!
Russell Archambault May 14, 2012 at 10:48 PM
J HEAD with your masters degree Just for the record what is it in ? you still have to work two jobs in this economy! So you know how hard it is to get by.. so to make around an equal 60.000.00 per year as school teachers. how many hours do you work per day per week per full year? -------- all the suggestions that i could make to change things would not go any further that how far i could spit. people could send in every suggestion in the world and it would not make one difference. perhaps when enough heads roll, teachers loose their jobs, and when officials do drastic measures, like just shutting the system down, just like when teachers strikes shut the system, when they thought they had us by the.... and got what they wanted. the the school system changes will begin. then and only then will the proper people will listen. this is about money, but when money hits home, its a whole different story. when is the last time a teacher lost his or her property. I hate saying this and admitting to my tactics, SHUT THE SYSTEM DOWN. LET THE CITY WALK AWAY NOW.
Maggie May 15, 2012 at 12:45 AM
You know, it doesn't matter what the schools need, what the laws are, how much money the school system requires to run any more, what matters is the primary tax payers (home owners/business) have been hit many tax increases in a few years, job loss, decreasing home values, yet another supplemental tax followed by more tax increases. We are broke! Be very careful what you wish for when you write "leave, get out, we don't need your kind of people" as there are many who plan to do just that. You see, it all comes down to numbers and zero is zero no matter the schools, no matter the union contracts, no matter what the GA, Gov., mayor, city council, union leaders, say. And the more that leave, the more will be forced to leave. If you don't think so, just check out what happened in Ohio where they have one house occupied on a street surrounded by empty houses. YOU DON'T GET TAXES FROM EMPTY HOUSES. Our value of life here in this city is deplorable; crime is up, the city looks terrible; it’s embarrassing to say we live here. Yet we work just as hard if not harder than teachers (please feel free to agree to work in many of OUR shoes before you get self-righteous.) but there is very little left to keep us here and so much cheaper, healthier, and less stressful to live elsewhere.
Lilian May 16, 2012 at 03:21 PM
It boils down to unfunded mandates, get rid of the mandates or the unfunded part. Also, why not do some welfare reform while you're at it. Too many people take advantage of the welfare system. That is not why it was created but it has ballooned into one big joke. Welfare rats is what I say, people who cheat the system and take advantage of it. There are some people who truly need it but the majority take advantage of the system and we are paying for it instead of putting that money into our children's education.


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