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SOUTH KINGSTOWN â€“ The School Committee had its last budget workshop Monday night before it submits the school budget to the town. The committee focused on different scenarios in which school programs or buildings would be cut, how much money to anticipate from the collective bargaining agreements and how this would help close the $1.6 million budget shortfall.
During the three hours of discussion, the school committee debated the merits of five scenarios Superintendent Kristen Stringfellow set up, regarding how the budget would be affected by collective bargaining agreements and town appropriation. After eliminating scenarios one and five, which either cut $2.55 million in programs or $0 in programs, the committee decided those situations were unrealistic. They decided to have Stringfellow develop numbers for scenarios three and four to be presented at the next Feb. 8 meeting, where they will then choose one. Scenario three sets up a situation where in collective bargaining, teachers agreed to contribute $950,000 with one percent appropriation from the town and $1.12 million from school programs and structures, which would result in $2.55 million for the budget. Scenario four creates a situation in which $950,000 is contributed by collective bargaining with a two percent appropriation from the town and $640,184 from programs.
The $2.55 million shortfall is partly derived from anticipated zero percent salary increase for teachers and increasing the co-payment for health insurance from what it is now, three to six percent, to 20 percent.
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