Valley Breeze

The Valley Breeze Pawtucket 4-24-13

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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APRIL 24-30, 2013 Serving Pawtucket FREE Breeze THE VALLEY GETTING CRAFTY FEATHERED FRIENDS Craftopia hits the city this weekend. PAGE 10 Baby chicks visit the Pawtucket Library. PAGE 15 @ "Like" us on Pawtucket is growing more dependent on SNAP benefits Search for The Valley Breeze Newspapers Study on absenteeism could lead to school schedule changes Strong show of support Winter break, pre-Thanksgiving Wednesday up for consideration By ETHAN SHOREY Valley Breeze Staff Writer PAWTUCKET – Nearly 20,000 of the city's 71,000 residents received a combined $2.75 million from the federal Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program in March. That dollar figure dwarfed every other Rhode Island municipality except Providence. With 19,823 people, representing 10,993 households, taking advantage of the benefits, formerly known as food stamps, 28 percent of the city's population of 71,000 people is now using SNAP benefits. Expanded out over an entire year, the $2.75 million monthly total would mean that Pawtucket residents are receiving more than $30 million in assistance to buy food, according to totals provided to The Breeze by the Rhode Island Department of Human Services. The $2.75 million to Pawtucket in March was a fraction of the $26.9 million in SNAP benefits doled out to all recipients in Rhode Island last month. From the residents who receive the SNAP benefits to the grocers who accept them, See SNAP, Page 6 By ETHAN SHOREY Valley Breeze Staff Writer VALLEY BREEZE PHOTO BY ELISE MANAHAN In an effort to reach out and connect with those affected by the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in mid December of last year, Tolman High School baseball coach Theo Murray invited the Newtown High School baseball team, coached by Matt Memoli, to a friendly game of baseball at McCoy Stadium last Saturday. JANE LARSON, of Pawtucket, claps a noisemaker and waves an American flag as members of the Newtown High School and Tolman High School baseball teams are called out onto the field. See more photos on page 8. PAWTUCKET – An in-depth review of data on teacher and student absences could result in changes being made to the local school schedule going forward. Superintendent Deborah Cylke told The Valley Breeze that the information from the study, which is being done by a data specialist, will be very helpful in determining whether changes are warranted. "The data may drive some calendar changes," said Cylke, adding that the information gleaned from such a review can help push the district to make "good decisions." According to Cylke, administrators already know some facts before the data analysis is even complete. One example of a big change that could come, said Cylke, would be to eliminate February vacation to add more instruction time into the schedule. FINANCIAL AID AVAILABLE FOR THOSE WHO QUALIFY Classes in English and Spanish For more info refer to ©2013 BREEZE PUBLICATIONS INC. Outside factors like snow days or big spikes in the flu also hurt instruction time, she said. Pawtucket officials have added five days to the 2012-2013 school year because of snow days. Cylke noted that the Cumberland School Committee voted last month to take away three of the five typical days of February vacation. For the 2014-2015 school year, Cumberland officials want to combine February and April vacations into a single week off, according to an earlier Breeze CYLKE story. Pawtucket School Committee Chairman Alan Tenreiro, who serves as principal at Cumberland High School, could not immediately be reached on the idea of similar schedule changes in his home city. Another example of a change that could be made is to cancel school on the day before Thanksgiving, said Cylke. "We know we have the Wednesday before Thanksgiving where stuSee SCHEDLUE, Page 13

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