WEST WARWICK -- Approximately 200 parents, students and teachers gathered in the West Warwick high school auditorium Wednesday night to gain more knowledge and voice their opinions about the financial situation of the town.
The open forum, which was hosted by the Public Relations Committee, included an array of administration from the schools and town who sat atop the stage to present information to the audience and await their questions.
The panel consisted of Superintendent Ken Sheehan, Director of Administration and Finance, Michael Petrarca, School Committee Chairman Jim Williamson, Town Council member Mark Bourget, West Warwick Teacher’s Alliance President Sean Doyle and Director of Special Education and Pupil and Personnel Services, Paul Vigeant.
“Good evening. Tonight’s forum comes at an opportune time because there are several problems surrounding the West Warwick school district that could have major impacts on education in our town going forward,” explained Williamson.
These impacts include: litigation, a settlement proposal with the town, state aid, the town’s appropriation, changes in legislation and contracts.
Petrarca also explained to the audience the details of maintenance of effort and what caused the School Committee and the Town Council to entire litigation.
He showed in a power point presentation the difficulties of the budget when the state and town cut money from the school department.
Back in 2008, the school department received $20.4 million in state aid. In 2011 however, they only received $18.4 million and in 2012 they received $19.1 million.
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