New East Providence plan could send fifth-graders to middle schools, close Oldham
EAST PROVIDENCE — The oft-discussed closing of Oldham School, along with a new proposal to shift all fifth-grade students to the city's two middle schools, are part of a couple of the consolidation plans being considered by East Providence administrators.
The Post has obtained internal papers documenting the proposed changes, which include the long-considered shuttering of the elementary school located on Bullocks Point Avenue in the Riverside section of the city.
One of the new components being discussed is increasing the population at both Martin and Riverside middle schools to include Grade 5, along with Grades 6, 7 and 8.
Interim Superintendent Dr. John DeGoes was charged with developing several cost-saving options for the Budget Commission to consider. Sources indicated Dr. DeGoes compiled the proposals in concert with representatives from the Rhode Island Department of Education. Former School Department Transportation Director Raymond Linneman, currently working in the system on a limited basis, is believed to have also been consulted on the proposed changes.
Numbered 1 through 4 but not necessarily in order of preference, the first option includes moving a total of 201 fifth-grade students from the Francis, Orlo Avenue, Whiteknact and Silver Spring elementary schools to Martin, and 183 fifth-graders from Kent Heights, Hennessey, Oldham and Waddington to Riverside.
Martin's total enrollment would grow to 802 and Riverside's to 775. An additional bus route would be needed to each, coming at an expected price tag of $59,454, for a total of $118,908 in added expense.
A second option would also add fifth-graders to the middle school level, but would completely reconfigure both Riverside and Martin. The former would take in all of the city's fifth- and sixth-grade students, while the latter would be for seventh- and eighth-graders only.
Riverside would be home to the approximately 860 fifth- and sixth-grade pupils. Martin would house the roughly 770 seventh- and eight-grade students in East Providence. Riverside would need an additional four bus routes, totaling about $238,000, and Martin two more at roughly $119,000, for a sum of $357,000.
Closing Oldham separately is a third option compiled by Dr. DeGoes. The school's 178 students would likely be moved in some combination to either Waddington, Silver Spring or Kent Heights. All personnel would also be moved. Closing the building would save approximately $52,000 in operation and utility costs.
Likewise, closing Whiteknact School on Grosvenor Avenue in the center of the city is the fourth option. A total of 277 students as well as personnel would have to be shifted to other buildings, likely among Orlo, Hennessey and Kent Heights. Projected savings from operational and utility costs at Whiteknact would save some $52,000.
Two buses currently service Oldham at a cost of $118,908. Four buses service Whiteknact at slightly less than $238,000.
When these proposals are expected to be presented to the public is of yet unknown. An agenda for the Thursday, Jan. 3, Budget Commission was not available on the city website as of late afternoon Monday, Dec. 31.