Valley Breeze

The Valley Breeze & Observer 11-14-2019

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 – Students may be asked but not mandated to pay for field trips and advanced placement testing, said the Smithfield School Committee in a resolution sent to the state. The resolution passed by the School Committee last week asks that the following additional line be added to state law: "This prohibition does not apply to school-sponsored field trips and AP/specialized exams in which parents can be asked for funding, as long as the district pro- vides some (funding) support to student(s) whose family cannot afford the cost of the trip or exam." In April, former Education Commissioner Ken Wagner said that school trips may only be funded through budgeting instructional programs where all students have the same ability to attend, as well as fundraising to supplement district budgeted funds without mandated goals. He added that students may only be charged for a trip if it is not organized using district resources or funded staff time. According to Smithfield's resolu- tion, signed by School Committee Chairwoman Rose Marie Cipriano, the state's ruling has had the unin- tended consequences of severely reducing, if not eliminating, extra- curricular opportunities. "In essence, this means that once- in-a-lifetime opportunities for stu- dents, such as band or choral trips, national competitions, study tours of major cities and historical sites, and other important programs will be eliminated from public schools …" the resolution states. The resolution adds that districts can't afford the costs of fully funding enrichment activities. Smithfield's current policies are in keeping with state law, said Supt. Judy Paolucci on Tuesday. The dis- trict is accepting donations, she said, but had to end many of its big-ticket school trips this year. Donations are covering many of the smaller trips. Paolucci said the state's current wording could prevent the district from charging students for AP test- ing fees as well. She said the district under current policy pays the testing fees for students who can't afford it, and charges those who can pay. "This is a well-established practice and has served us well. We are con- cerned that the new guidance from RIDE suggests that we should not be charging at all," Paolucci said. She estimated that the change from not charging any AP testing fees will cost the district $14,000. Paolucci said the district will talk more about the field trip and AP testing funding during budget season. "If we spend $14,000 on these fees, we are taking away from other pro- grams in the district," Paolucci said. She said the district understands the potential positive financial impact AP classes can have in the long run, often saving students from being charged for the courses in col- lege. "Students in Rhode Island and across the world recognize this course and exam and the kids can get a semester free. They get (col- lege) credit for the course taken," Cipriano added. She said she hopes the current practice continues. "I hope they reconsider that part of the law," Paolucci said. 2 SMITHFIELD NOVEMBER 14-20, 2019 | VALLEY BREEZE & OBSERVER | SMITHFIELD SCITUATE FOSTER GLOCESTER Nerf Party/Parents' Night Out benefits Smithfield Education Foundation SMITHFIELD – Mastery Martial Arts Smithfield will host two Parents' Night Out Nerf Party/ Black Lite Blaster nights on Fridays, Nov. 15 and Dec. 13, from 7 to 9:30 p.m., at its 9 Cedar Swamp Road location. Proceeds from the event will benefit the Smithfield Education Foundation, a local nonprofit that raises funds for and awards grants to Smithfield Public School teachers. To register, call 401-231-5425, or sign up at https://my.cheddarup. com/c/blasternight-parents-night-out . The cost is $20 for the first child and $10 for each additional sibling. Registrations for each night are lim- ited to the first 25 children (recom- mended ages 6-11). Pizza and refreshments will be served. IN BRIEF Books Are Fun group meets Nov. 21 SMITHFIELD – East Smithfield Public Library, 50 Esmond St., will host its Books Are Fun group on Thursday, Nov. 21, at 4:30 p.m. Children in grades 4 and 5 and their parents/caregivers are invited to join this group. The group will meet each month to discuss a book, enjoy a snack, and participate in activities about the book. Registration is required. Call 401-231-5150, ext. 3, to register. Greenville Library closed for Thanksgiving SMITHFIELD – The Greenville Public Library, 573 Putnam Pike, will close at 5 p.m. on Wednesday, Nov. 27, and will be closed on Thursday, Nov. 28, for Thanksgiving. School board seeks law change as extra activities slashed By JACQUELYN MOOREHEAD Valley Breeze & Observer Staff Writer jackie@valleybreeze.com Northern Rhode Island Animal Hospital Since 1983 We're close, just 15 minutes from Providence off Rt. 146. 152 School St., North Smithfield Open 6 days: Mon.-Fri. 8 a.m.-10 p.m.; Sat. 8 a.m.-4 p.m. Our philosophy: (401) 762-2400 • nriah.com We're attentive, grateful, well-behaved (mostly), and always happy to see you. Visit our full-service animal hospital with a team approach to quality veterinary care.

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