WEST WARWICK—During June’s deliberations, last minute budget cuts were made by the Senate, and according to Kenneth Sheehan, superintendent of the schools, the Ramp Up proficiency-based summer program was affected.
“The Senate cut $2.2 million to balance their budget,” said Sheehan.
The cuts affected the Progression, Support and Intervention districts across the state, of which West Warwick High School is apart of, he explained.
“As an offshoot under the Progression, Support and Intervention—all districts developed a district negotiation agreement (DNA) with the Rhode Island Department of Education (RIDE),” said Sheehan. “In that DNA, one component was that RIDE would fund the summer school program.”
RIDE has been funding the program for three years now and the school department was expecting to receive funding for their fourth summer, according to Sheehan.
The Ramp Up program began on July first. According to Sheehan, they chose to move forward with the program despite funding because graduating students relied on participation.
“The program is directly responsible for 19 kids potentially walking that stage to graduate this summer,” said Sheehan. He stated that these 19 students are 10 percent of the graduating class.
The program is also offered to underclassmen and this year, the enrollment totals 100 students.
Sheehan stated that they will turn to funding through potential grants, private funding sources or other institutional grants.
The department is also currently working to set up a meeting with the attorneys from RIDE, as well as with Education Commissioner Deborah A. Gist to discuss possibilities.