Valley Breeze

The North Providence Breeze 11-06-2019

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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NORTH PROVIDENCE EDITION | VALLEY BREEZE | NOVEMBER 6-12, 2019 LETTERS TO THE EDITOR 11 Pallotta: Mayor's comments need clarification In reference to the article dated Oct. 30, "Mayor rips what he sees as excessive spending," there are several references made by Mayor Lombardi that need clarification. Yes, it is true that Mayor Lombardi did not hire our previous finance director. However, we have to point out that the mayor's finance director did par- ticipate on the interview committee. Secondly under R.I. Law, Title 16, 16-2-9, General Powers and Duties of School Committees, Item 6, the School Committee is an autonomous body given the authority to hire and terminate personnel, per the recom- mendation of the superintendent. While the mayor is entitled to his opinion, we would prefer to deal with facts relative to the mayor's accusa- tion of paying two people for the same work. Again, relative to Rhode Island Department of Education regulations, we are required to have a certified finance director to oversee all financial operations at the school district. The number of people work- ing in the school finance office is the same number of people that existed for the last 10 years. As a matter of efficiency and protecting taxpayers' dollars, the School Committee reor- ganized the finance department to have better oversight of every expen- diture. The mayor is quoted as saying that "it is quite clear over there that the administration office is in a sham- bles"; we beg to disagree. We believe that the administration and School Committee have created stability by hiring very qualified individuals and have established a positive agenda moving forward. Over the last nine months we have been very prudent and uncompromising managing our level funded budget. We man- age our budget with austerity and fiscal responsibility protecting the taxpayer's money while providing every child with the best affordable education. As far as the mayor's comments relative to, "not having business sense," here again are the facts. The School Committee saved approxi- mately $208,000 over the last 9 months by: • Reducing/eliminating staff over- time, saving $40,000 • Revising our copy machine lease, saving $50,000• Establishing our own redistricting subcommittee and not hiring a consultant, saving $60,000 • Having the newly appointed superintendent also assume the high school principal position for six months, while also serving as the superintendent, saving the district $50,000 • Hiring a new finance director at a savings of $8,000 Total: $208,000 The School Committee has over- sight and responsibility to educate approximately 3,500 students while employing approximately 400 staff members and managing a budget of approximately $58,000,000. It is critical that our finance depart- ment is appropriately staffed to protect our taxpayers' money, while effectively providing resources to our students and hardworking staff. As always, we will continue to work with all branches of govern- ment to ensure that taxpayers' dollars are expended judiciously and effi- ciently, and to provide an appropri- ate education for all our children. The closing of Marieville Elementary School and the build- ing of two new elementary schools on budget and on time is a prime example of when all branches of gov- ernment work together for the good of the community. This response is not intended to be critical, but only to provide clarity with factual information. DR. FRANK PALLOTTA Chairman, North Providence School Committee Thank you to community officials helping with Alzheimer's disease awareness Leaders such as Rose Amoros Jones, director, and Megan Connolly, director of policy and government affairs, from the Rhode Island Office of Healthy Aging, have shown their commitment to supporting those in the local com- munities affected by Alzheimer's disease and other forms of demen- tia by attending the Community Town Hall Conversation on Cognitive Health held at the North Providence Public Library. Their participation and engagement with those residents and other profes- sionals in the area should be com- mended and acknowledged. Over 23,000 Rhode Islanders have Alzheimer's disease, while there are over 53,000 caregiv- ers that support them. Through legislation, increased awareness and community and civic action, more individuals will receive the resources they need. Alzheimer's is the fifth leading cause of death in Rhode Island and could possibly be first by 2050 based on current trajectories. The time for action is now, and our community officials are helping to take the lead. ERIC CREAMER Director of Public Policy Alzheimer's Association - Rhode Island Chapter Place your classified ad online at classifieds.valleybreeze.com do you know? You're holding 1 newspaper, but we fill 5 every week! They're all at valleybreeze.com Letters to the Editor Letters to the Editor are welcome from readers. Please: • Limit to 500 words. Longer letters may appear online only. • Letters on local or state topics and issues will take precedence over those on national issues. • No more than one letter per person every 8 weeks, please. • All letters must be signed and include a hometown. Send by e-mail to: news@valleybreeze.com, or mail to The Valley Breeze, 6 Blackstone Valley Place, Suite 204, Lincoln, RI 02865. 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