Valley Breeze

The Valley Breeze Cumberland Lincoln 04-01-2021

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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CUMBERLAND LINCOLN EDITION | VALLEY BREEZE | APRIL 1-7, 2021 LINCOLN / THE VALLEY 15 been bad on optics, with cuts being made to other areas of the LHS renovation while the administrative plans include a new IT space and a private restroom in the superinten- dent's office. "It doesn't make sense to me and it won't make sense to the taxpay- ers," he said. Supt. Larry Filippelli said it's very typical for administrators to have a separate IT server from students, who may hack the system that con- tains sensitive information. On the subject of the restroom, which Filippelli said has been dubbed the "executive bathroom" by certain naysayers, he said it is not a private suite. The current administrative office building at the former Lonsdale School has six bathrooms, and they'll have three at LHS, he noted. "The bathroom is there for the same reason the conference table is there," Filippelli said. "We have long negotiation sessions, disciplin- ary hearings … the bathroom is available for anyone to use." After questions were raised regarding the process officials fol- lowed while planning the move of the Lincoln School Department's administrative offices to the Lincoln High School campus, Town Solicitor Tony DeSisto has issued an opinion on the matter. The Lincoln High School Building Committee should have had some oversight into the admin- istrative wing buildout based on past practice, he said, but added that officials did not violate any state regulations. As construction on the school nears the finish line, the adminis- trative wing has been brought back into the project with plans drawn and contracts signed, surprising Building Committee members who say they hadn't heard a word about the wing or been given the chance to offer feedback on the plans. The decision was made to spend bond premium money on the proj- ect to complete the buildout. In doing so, officials learned they'd be eligible for an additional reimburse- ment on the bond based on the state's "newer and fewer" initiative, which incentivizes school districts to consolidate buildings wherever possible. The Town Council voted to appropriate funding for the move last October. To earn the reimburse- ment of more than $3 million, the work must be complete by June. DeSisto confirmed that work has begun on the wing without the Building Committee's involvement. The School Department did not violate Lincoln's charter in doing so, he said, as the charter language only relates to the construction of "new school buildings," requiring a five-person committee to oversee the work. The wing is not a new school, he said, and the Rhode Island Department of Education does not provide for the specific duties of such committees in the later stages of the project. DeSisto said "precedent suggests there should have been Building Committee involvement at some point in this process," but no RIDE regulations were violated. Since work has begun and con- tracts finalized, he said the com- mittee can't alter or rescind cer- tain parts of the plan, but should be brought into the process in a "supervisory role." Ben Scungio, the School Department's attorney, said the state law respecting school construction makes the School Committee the sole entity charged with the control and supervision of construction, unless the charter says otherwise. Scungio argued that the Building Committee would need to ask the School Committee permission before stepping into a supervisory role. By vacating the current adminis- trative space, Filippelli noted that Lincoln is eligible for an additional five points on the entire LHS proj- ect loan, which would bring "$3 million at a minimum back into the project." He said they plan to reuse all of the existing furniture in the new administrative space. The Valley Breeze is committed to keeping quality news stories like this one free to our readers. You can be a huge part of this local journalism suc- cess story by making a one-time or monthly contribution to what we do every week at valleybreeze.com/support. Thank you as always for reading. BREEZE PHOTO BY NICOLE DOTZENROD Officials are in the process of moving Lincoln's school administrative offices to Lincoln High School from the former LINCOLN MEMORIAL SCHOOL on Lonsdale Avenue, pictured. AMENITIES From Page One 401Gives returns on April 1 PROVIDENCE – Rhode Islanders will have the opportunity to support any of more than 300 local nonprof- its when 401Gives, the state's larg- est single day of giving, returns on Thursday, April 1. After exceeding the $1 million mark for the effort's first-ever year, United Way of Rhode Island has upped the ante, setting a goal to raise $1.5 million for nonprofits across the Ocean State in a span of just 24 hours. Participating in 401Gives is easy, both for Rhode Islanders and local nonprofits alike. For donors, the effort is conducted entirely through the unified online site, 401Gives.org , and via social media. The site allows nonprofits to share their stories and work, and collect donations through the secure fundraising platform, GiveGab. Each participating non- profit has its own customizable page, to which gifts can directly be made. Donors can also search by organiza- tion name, community or ZIP code, and by cause. 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