Valley Breeze

The Valley Breeze & Observer 03-28-2019

The Valley Breeze Newspapers serving the Northern Rhode Island towns of Cumberland, Lincoln, Woonsocket, Smithfield, North Smithfield, Pawtucket, North Providence, Scituate, Foster, and Glocester

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SMITHFIELD SCITUATE FOSTER GLOCESTER | VALLEY BREEZE & OBSERVER | MARCH 28-APRIL 3, 2019 NORTH COUNTY 7 GLOCESTER – Glocester taxpay- ers will see a 4.7 percent increase in town appropriation for the Ponaganset School District after voters approved the $28.4 million 2019-2020 budget at the Financial Town Meeting on Tuesday, March 19. The budget went to a vote of resi- dents in both Foster and Glocester, with 107 voting to approve the bud- get, and 61 against during the meet- ing at the Ponaganset High School auditorium. The $28.4 million budget includes a 2.5 percent increase in local appropriation, or $393,591. Local appropriations are based on student enrollment in each town. There was an increase in Glocester stu- dents attending the regional school, prompting the need for the 4.7 per- cent increase in appropriation, while Foster will pay 1.53 percent less. Due to Foster's $128,616 decrease in appropriation, including debt service obligations, Glocester picks up Foster's shortfall, making the increase that much more substantial. The vote commits each town to the budget and appropriation amounts. "We have nothing to do but pay it," said Glocester Finance Director Diane Brennon. The town will pay $9.2 million, or $429,401 more than last year, for increases in general operation, and an additional $1.1 million in debt service payment. In total, Glocester's local appropri- ation will cost the town $10,828,290 or a 1.78 percent increase to the town's entire budget. Brennon called the increase "offensive." Brennon said Glocester's 4 percent tax cap for increases is equivalent to $790,000. The increase in local appropriation is $522,207, or 66 per- cent of what the town is allowed. Including debt services, Foster will pay $5,302,925 in local appropria- tion. Over the years, Glocester set aside $215,000 in funding in anticipa- tion of the enrollment swing. Supt. Michael Barnes proposed Glocester use the funding to offset costs, but Brennon said it's not a good idea. She said she would suggest using a portion of the funds, but holding onto some to protect against circum- stances next year. She said Glocester is still working on the town budget, and will do its best to minimize the tax impact on residents. "We've been on the other side of the coin in the past couple years. This is a very large swing for us this year," she said. The increase in the Ponaganset budget breaks down to a 2.53 per- cent increase in general operating expenses and capital projects, and 2.23 percent in debt service pay- ment for past capital improvement. Ponaganset received an increase in state aid, from $4.5 to $4.9 mil- lion, and Barnes said the school also expects out-of-district tuition to almost double to $613,000 in 2019-2020. Barnes said the district is cautious not to allow too many out-of-district students, but he said Ponaganset benefits from the stu- dents. On average, a student's sending district pays $13,000 to $15,000 to the receiving school in addition to transportation costs. "We will not use Foster-Glocester dollars to service those kids," Barnes said. Glocester Town Council President George Steere spoke during the Financial Town Meeting, and said other districts are keeping more students due to a rise in career and tech education programs. "My fear is, and I said this before, while pathways are wonderful pro- grams, when that enrollment goes down, the people of Foster and Glocester will have to continue to pay for that," Steere said. Ponaganset budgets 4.7 percent increase for Glocester By JACQUELYN MOOREHEAD Valley Breeze & Observer Staff Writer jackie@valleybreeze.com Masonic lodges hold charity dinner to benefit Pink Heels NORTH SMITHFIELD – The Masonic Lodges of Smithfield, Chepachet, Lincoln, Cumberland, Woonsocket and surrounding areas are hosting a charity dinner and raffle benefiting the Rhode Island Pink Heels at the Village Haven, 90 School St., Forestdale, on Saturday, April 6, from 4 to 8 p.m. Entertainment for the evening will include the mentalist and mind reader, Christopher Grace. Rhode Island Pink Heels assists fami- lies struggling with cancer treatment bills and associated costs. The Masonic Lodge hopes to raise more than $3,000 for the event. Pink firetrucks will be brought in for the event for cancer patients and survi- vors to sign. Raffle prizes include gift cards from restaurants, as well as a gift basket from Pixie Salon, and a PGA instructed golf package, and more. Tickets are $50 each or $85 per couple. For more information or to purchase tickets, contact Ryan McNelis at jr.mcnelis.esq@gmail.com . Scituate Scholarship Fund applications due April 5 SCITUATE – Applications are available at the Guidance Department of Scituate High School, 94 Trimtown Road, for the 2019 Scituate Scholarship Fund Scholarships. To be eligible, a candidate must be a resident of Scituate graduating from an accredited secondary school in 2019. Recipients of awards must attend an accredited post-secondary school on a full-time basis starting in the fall of 2019. Scholarship amounts range from $1,000 to $5,000. Organizers say in 2018, awards totaled more than $62,000. Completed applications must be returned to the Scituate High School Guidance Department on or before Friday, April 5. For more information, contact Bill Lenox at lenoxen@verizon.net.

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