Letter: Time to buckle up for school budget season

Posted 2/12/20

To the editor:

Well Barrington it’s budget time again. We should be paying close attention and attending the Committee on Appropriations (COA), School Committee and Town Council meetings. …

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Letter: Time to buckle up for school budget season

Posted

To the editor:

Well Barrington it’s budget time again. We should be paying close attention and attending the Committee on Appropriations (COA), School Committee and Town Council meetings. All town departments submit their budgets for the

next fiscal year to the COA. The COA will make a budget recommendation to be voted on at the Financial Town Meeting (FTM) in May. 

According to a recent article in the Barrington Times the schools have a very big list. Hold on to your wallets. This is when the School Department will threaten our sports programs if they do not get the amount of money they request. The School Committee is not looking out for our students and they spend our money frivolously. For instance, the school said we needed two additional busses three years ago so our students would not be on busses for more than 30 minutes, (all a ploy for later school start times). Last year they implemented the later start times with another $246,000 needed for the remaining buses. Now it is OK to have bus rides of 40 minutes or more. Remember, they also got two buses prior to the start of the new school schedule so the overall cost of Later School Start Time is approximately $400,000. 

According to the school superintendent he would not implement a program if it did not benefit everyone. This plan only benefits approximately 9-16 percent of the student population. It has affected everyone in the school district, some in a positive way, but many in a negative way. Early school dismissals for sports programs/academic teams, and more tardiness to school compared to earlier years. Apparently the schools do not track tardiness the way they use to because the buses are always late to the high school/middle school. 

Our school department also decided to spend an unknown amount of money that no one kept track of on challenging a case brought on by a student. RIDE and the Board of Secondary Education both ruled in favor of the student but our School Committee decide to file a lawsuit against the student in Supreme Court. They have recently withdrawn this suit but how much did that cost?

The past few weeks the schools keep sending out the same survey that you can answer multiple times which is not good. In my opinion the results are not coming back in the schools' favor.  

I suggest the schools cut the later start times and use the $400,000 towards the curriculum materials and instructional coaches/additional support staff needed for next year. A majority of students I talk to feel more stress now. 

Hopefully the COA goes over the school budget carefully. The schools have fared well over the past few years with modest increases. We do not look at our sports programs with any upgrades. The high school fields have not had any major upgrades since they were built in 1952, with the exception of adding the library field and redoing the track. 

I think it is time we look into voting out the school committee and replacing them with people that look at the big picture and who have no personal agendas. The municipal budget always gets cut while the school department always increases their budget to their legal maximum. It’s time the town and school department work together on budgets.

Tom Rimoshytus

Barrington

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