School Committee gets early glimpse at East Providence's FY19-20 budget figures

Demo work on old pool for new EPHS project begins

By Mike Rego
Posted 7/11/19

EAST PROVIDENCE — The School Committee at its meeting last week, July 9, got its first glimpse of some preliminary numbers associated with the upcoming Fiscal Year 2019-20 budget for the …

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School Committee gets early glimpse at East Providence's FY19-20 budget figures

Demo work on old pool for new EPHS project begins

Posted

EAST PROVIDENCE — The School Committee at its meeting last week, July 9, got its first glimpse of some preliminary numbers associated with the upcoming Fiscal Year 2019-20 budget for the district.
Director of Finance Craig Enos and Assistant Superintendent Dr. Sandra Forand briefed the board on the first set of figures pertaining to salaries and benefits to be paid to personnel next year. In total, some $47.6 million is earmarked for employee compensation, an increase of about $1.5 million over the current fiscal year. Mr. Enos said the uptick is associated with raises included in the current collective bargaining contracts in place, which are entering the final of the three agreements.
The administrators touched on the subject of additional costs of benefits, cautioning the committee those figures still needed adjustment and will be talked about with more specificity at the body’s next meeting scheduled for Monday, July 22.
Mr. Enos termed the projected three percent increase in health care costs, approximately $320,000, as “really good” considering the marketplace. Workers compensation outlays are expected to rise by six percent or $160,000. The district’s property and liability insurance could increase as much as 11 percent, Mr. Enos saying it “went up a little bit higher due to previous issues we’ve had.”
Pre-K update
Assistant Superintendent Dr. Celeste Bowler provided the committee with an update on the district’s Pre-Kindergarten program, telling the body the state has approved an additional classroom for the fall, which brings the total number to nine. Eight of those classes are operated by the district in rooms at Martin Middle School and the Oldham School. One other is overseen by the East Bay Committee Action Program (EBCAP).
“I’m very pleased,” Dr. Bowler said of the added classroom, funding of which was provided in the fiscal budget passed by the General Assembly last month, though less than that sought by Governor Gina Raimondo in her proposal.
She continued, “Honestly, I’m thrilled with the one. Given the fact that we had the most Pre-K classes in the state, seven, that we wouldn’t get the one…I would consider us fortunate and proud to get the one classroom.”
A total of 160 children will be served by the district’s eight rooms, 100 at Martin and 60 at Oldman. Dr. Bowler said the waiting lists for access to the Pre-K program, which is controlled by the state via a lottery system, continue to increase. Some 25 families are on the Martin list and about 15 are on the Oldham list.
More meeting notes
Included in the report of Director of Human Resources Report Cheryl Mammone, the retirement of Donna Sousa after 32 years as an employee was reported. Ms. Sousa was initially hired as long-term substitute then became a full-time teacher before becoming a librarian. She has been the East Providence High School librarian since 2005.
Director of Facilities Tony Feola provided a brief update on the new EPHS project, telling the committee trailers for the contractors overseeing construction are expected be placed on site the week of July 28. In addition, demolition work on the old pool area was supposed to begin Wednesday, July 10. Mr. Feola said much of the initial tear down will take place inside. Noticeable demo won’t be done for several weeks.
Action items
The committee approved the following items:
The appointment of an additional custodian at Waddington Elementary School to help address the consolidation of grades K-5 at the building beginning this fall. The position is full-time with a beginning total compensation package of approximately $60,000.
The awarding of a contract to replace bleachers in both the Martin and Riverside Middle School gymnasiums at a cost of some $150,000.
An additional $40,000 from the district to fund the construction of a playground at Whiteknact Elementary School.

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