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E.P. School Committee, admins start Fiscal Year 2020-21 budget talks

First workshop pertains to personnel, potential pandemic impacts

By Mike Rego
Posted 7/27/20

EAST PROVIDENCE — The School Committee and central administration began informal discussions on the 2020-21 Fiscal Year budget during a workshop held last week.

The first set of talks …

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Please support local news coverage –

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E.P. School Committee, admins start Fiscal Year 2020-21 budget talks

First workshop pertains to personnel, potential pandemic impacts

Posted

EAST PROVIDENCE — The School Committee and central administration began informal discussions on the 2020-21 Fiscal Year budget during a workshop held last week.

The first set of talks started with personnel, where the body heard matters pertaining to salaries and benefits of the over 500 employees whose anticipated allocation for next year totals approximately $45.8 million.

Both Superintendent Kathryn Crowley and District Finance Director Craig Enos noted the costs where basically fixed, that no increases for raises are included, only those related to the “steps” as described in collective bargaining agreements with employee unions.

Mr. Enos also guided the committee through either new or vacant positions at each of the district’s buildings.

The Career and Tech Center has an opening for a new allied health teacher. Superintendent Crowley said that was due to increase in enrollment for the curriculum.

Two positions were available at East Providence High School: science and special education resource teachers.

Whiteknact has an opening for a custodian.

Other positions available though ones that have been filled by the administration but await formal approval by the committee include: Francis and Waddington Elementary Kindergarten teachers; English Language Learner (ELL) teachers, one each to be shared between Hennessey and Whiteknact Elementary and at Riverside and Martin Middle Schools.

Superintendent Crowley said the names and qualifications of those potential employees will be presented to the committee at its next scheduled meeting in August.

One significant and immediate caveat to the sharing of personnel is the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

The superintendent acknowledged teachers are unlikely to be able to travel between buildings during the upcoming year or at the very least at the proposed start of the new term.

Superintendent Crowley continued when asked about the situation, admitting, “Right now, we don’t have a plan.” She said the administration was waiting to fill the positions first, while also waiting to determine how to handle all traveling teachers such as music and physical education.

The pandemic, and its impact on the state budget, is also affecting the call back of personnel.

The superintendent said 11 teachers are still awaiting recalls. Also most of the 30 plus para-professionals have yet to be called back. She explained 11 of those who have worked for the district for more than one year. The majority of the rest were one year positions, which went into the job placement pool and were filled by those current employees who were displaced and had qualifications to fill the role. She added the call-back of the others are dependent on if schools actually reopen at the end of next month.

“We’re holding off to see what September will bring and what the (state) budget will bring,” Superintendent Crowley said. “There’s so much happening with plans, there’s so much uncertainty.”

A last note, Mr. Enos said the administration is considering adding a position for a systems engineer designated at the new EPHS.

He said at the moment, they are not sure if the position will be hired as an employee of the district or if a firm will be contracted for services. He added, the administration is still “in the informational gathering stages” and has yet to make a determination.

The position comes at the recommendation of the district’s new EPHS project manager. It would be filled full-time and on-site once the facility is complete because of the complexities of the mechanical/electrical equipment being installed.

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Mike Rego

Mike Rego has worked at East Bay Newspapers since 2001, helping the company launch The Westport Shorelines. He soon after became a Sports Editor, spending the next 10-plus years in that role before taking over as editor of The East Providence Post in February of 2012. To contact Mike about The Post or to submit information, suggest story ideas or photo opportunities, etc. in East Providence, email mrego@eastbaymediagroup.com.