Valley Breeze

The Valley Breeze Cumberland Lincoln 11-07-2019

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

Issue link: http://valleybreeze.uberflip.com/i/1182652

Contents of this Issue

Navigation

Page 13 of 63

14 LINCOLN NOVEMBER 7-13, 2019 | VALLEY BREEZE | CUMBERLAND LINCOLN EDITION LINCOLN – Transportation for Lincoln schools is running as effi- ciently as possible without making any major changes, says the dis- trict's superintendent, responding to a parent concerned about taxpayer money being spent on buses trans- porting only one or two students. The parent, who requested to remain anonymous for fear of repercussions, told The Breeze of sev- eral instances in which it appeared one bus was being used to transport just one or two students, asking why that burden should be placed on the taxpayers. "I echo their concern. I'm a taxpayer, too," Supt. Lawrence Filippelli said. "I understand, but we also have to provide transporta- tion for every kid. … It's not an inexpensive part of the budget." This year's transportation budget totals $3.4 million, which includes busing for special needs, athletics, and field trips as well as regular routes to and from the schools. The parent, who has a special needs student, pointed out that earlier this year, the district made changes to its special education programs in an effort to save money. "We all understand trying to be fiscally responsible," they said. "As taxpayers, we want our tax dollars to be spent wisely." The parent said they heard that Lincoln was looking to add another bus to take a student to North Providence High School from Lincoln to participate in a health program, and questioned why they couldn't go to Davies and why Lincoln taxpayers had to pay for their bus. Filippelli confirmed that a family moved to Lincoln, and the district is required to transport the children to North Providence High School for a P-Tech program, which focuses on healthcare and lets students gradu- ate with both a high school diploma and a free associate's degree from the Community College of Rhode Island. Because it's a Rhode Island Department of Education-approved Career and Technical Education program and because North Providence is in a RIDE-regulated zone, Lincoln is required to provide transportation, he said. "There's nothing we can do about it," Filippelli said. "There's no get- ting around that one." "It kills districts," he added. "I fought with Ken Wagner when he was the commissioner (at RIDE). … If we had a similar program, which we don't, they shouldn't be going anywhere (else)." The superintendent said there are instances in which a bus may trans- port only one student. If an indi- vidualized education program team, for example, deems that a student should go to a specialized program, such as the East Bay Collaborative, it's the district's responsibility to provide transportation and pay for statewide transportation. "A lot of folks don't understand that," he said. "They look at buses and see their tax dollars being burned. I totally get it." Also according to the parent, two students in a "before the bell" band program for exceptional students at Northern Elementary school in Lincoln, both who play drums, were "bragging about having their own special bus for them and their drums" because the instruments were too big to be transported on a regularly scheduled bus. "We're not suggesting the students can't ride the bus, but since it is only their drums that are prevent- ing the children from riding the bus, why do we taxpayers have to pay for the transportation of these two musical instruments?" the parent said. "How is that extra cost fiscally responsible?" Filippelli said that observation didn't sound right to him and sug- gested The Breeze ask Sam Levy, branch manager for First Student, the bus company for the district. Levy confirmed that two students and their drums were being trans- ported by a bus one day a week but "that's not being done anymore." He said other arrangements are being made to transport those stu- dents. The call was made by the district, Filippelli responds to taxpayer's busing concerns By MELANIE THIBEAULT Valley Breeze Staff Writer melanie@valleybreeze.com FILIPPELLI 'I echo their concern. I'm a tax- payer, too. I understand, but we also have to provide transporta- tion for every kid.' LAWRENCE FILIPPELLI Lincoln Superintendent of Schools See BUSING, Page 20 Holiday Spirit Good food. Good friends. Good food. Good friends. Purchase $100 Gift Card Receive $35 Gift Card Free Purchase $50 Gift Card Receive $15 Gift Card Free Purchase $100 Gift Card Receive $35 Gift Card Free Purchase $50 Gift Card Receive $15 Gift Card Free BLACK FRIDAY WEEKEND FRIDAY & SATURDAY NOVEMBER 29 & 30 Special Gift Card Offer BLACK FRIDAY WEEKEND FRIDAY & SATURDAY NOVEMBER 29 & 30 Special Gift Card Offer Now taking reservations Traditional Turkey Dinner & Trimmings Full Menu & Specials Available Join us for Thanksgiving Dinner Join us for Thanksgiving Dinner Open 12 p.m. – 5 p.m. Open 12 p.m. – 5 p.m. Now taking reservations Traditional Turkey Dinner & Trimmings Full Menu & Specials Available 3755 Mendon Rd. Cumberland, RI 401-658-1515 | www.andrewsbistro.com 3755 Mendon Rd. Cumberland, RI 401-658-1515 | www.andrewsbistro.com

Articles in this issue

Links on this page

Archives of this issue

view archives of Valley Breeze - The Valley Breeze Cumberland Lincoln 11-07-2019