Valley Breeze

The Valley Breeze & Observer 05-09-2019

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 EDITION | VALLEY BREEZE & OBSERVER | MAY 9-15, 2019 IN OUR SCHOOLS 11 The School Department will be solely responsible for spending from the account, but Paolucci suggested spending no more than 65 or 75 per- cent of the fund balance each year. As the fund grows, so will the spend- ing cap, she said. Paolucci said the town is placing responsibility on the schools to find funding to make upgrades and she fears that delaying capital projects will put the district in a hole that will be difficult to escape from. She said she is disappointed by the cut because she knows the projects that need get done after the audito- rium, including bathrooms at both schools and upgrades to the high and middle school libraries. "If we don't work on a project every year in this high school, the time will come all too fast for a bond project and I want to put that off as long as possible," Paolucci said. Paolucci has drafted a capital fund- ing plan and project that includes all capital projects at the high and middle schools over the next five years. She said using capital reserve funding over bonding has advantag- es, including a higher bond rating for the town and no payment of interests and fees. "Of course, there are also argu- ments against this approach," she said. She said funds that could relieve the tax burden will be reserved for future uses, and setting aside projects for future repairs will cost more due to inflation. "Nevertheless, the establishment of such a fund while also addressing current needs through a bond will serve the town well in future years," she said. In the documents, Paolucci said a recent Jacobs report completed dur- ing stage two planning for the ele- mentary reconfiguration plan, noted $42 million in priority one and two deficiencies, with another $13 mil- lion more to come over the next five years. The draft proposal includes three pages of improvements at the high school and two pages for the middle school, as well as future repairs need- ed at the district's sports fields. School Committee member Richard Iannitelli said the town has provided capital improvement fund- ing for the schools since 1996, and should continue to provide for the district in years to come. He said he is concerned about cutting $52,000 in the budget for the JASON Learning Argonaut experience and a high school music teacher. "I still think these are a couple of things shy," Iannitelli said of the lat- est budget. Paolucci said the town agreed to fund school operating costs com- pletely for a budget of $39 million, including $32.71 million from the town, which is equivalent to a 0.76 percent decrease from fiscal year 2019 to 2020. "To present a budget for the fol- lowing year that is less than the current year and not drop programs is impossible. The loss of staff is evi- dent," she said. Dozens of students, parents and teachers from the music program attended Monday's meeting pleading with the School Committee to not make cuts in the high school's music program. With a $1.4 million loss in state aid, the district made many cuts, including a part-time music teacher. Many students spoke about a love for music acquired from the music department, emphasizing that many successful theatrical and musical careers have emerged from music education. Approximately 30 people in the room raised their hands when resi- dent Paul Duhamel asked everyone to give a show of hands if they sup- port the music department. "I support the music program and encourage you to stay with it," Duhamel said. Paolucci reminded those in atten- dance that a public budget hearing will be held next Tuesday, May 14, at the Smithfield High School Auditorium, starting at 7 p.m., and residents may make a motion to adjust the budget, which will go to a vote. SCHOOLS From Page One ASPHALT & CONCRETE SERVICES RI Reg. #382815 31 Dexter Rock Road, Lincoln, RI "Great Course, Great Value, Great People" Discover the Best Value in Private Golf 30% OFF Dues for New Members * *Restrictions apply. See website for details • Well maintained, challenging 9 hole design • Award winning golf professional,Bruce MacDonald • Well stocked, competitively priced Pro Shop • Great Restaurant in Tomaselli's at Lincoln Country Club BENEFITS OF MEMBERSHIP

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