At a special School Committee meeting on April 12, 2017 by a vote of 4-1, the Committee adopted a Recommended Operating Budget for the 2017-2018 school year. A copy of the 2017-2018 Budget can be viewed by clicking on this link: FY2018 SC Adopted Recommended Budget.

A copy of this budget has been officially filed with the Mayor’s office with emailed copies being provided to all of our City Councilors as we await our public presentation to the City Council in late May.

The 2017-2018 Warwick Public Schools total budget request is $167,016,695. Of this total, $124,263,717 is being requested as local community support. The local community support request represents a 4% increase from the 2016-2017 school year. Our local support in 2016-2017 was level funded as compared to the 2015-2016 school year. In 2016-2017, with secondary education consolidation completed by August 25, 2016, we were able to enhance our programs with items like a 5 FTE increase in school social workers and 6 math intervention specialists to work with students in need of math support and full-time nurses at elementary schools as they were redeployed from the closed schools as opposed to being laid off.

In 2017-2018 we look to keep our momentum moving forward. Notable inclusions in this budget are:

  • Sustain what was implemented in 2016-2017: math intervention specialists, full-time nurses, increased social workers, and middle school interscholastic sports
  • Allocation of funds for settlement of teacher contract
  • One to one computer devices grades 6, 10, and 11 – giving all students 6-12 a chromebook
  • Expansion of Promethean Interactive Flat-Panel Displays to classrooms in both High Schools
  • Expansion of CADD and music labs at Toll Gate High School
  • Addition of two new all-day Kindergarten Classrooms, while sustaining all the all-day Kindergarten classes implemented in 2016-2017
  • Inclusion of additional debt service (50%) of projected cost for the most recently approved bond funding ($4 million)

During School Committee deliberations, it was noted that the budget is predominantly level funded except for these more significant items:

  • $2.4 million allocated for the increase in salary and fringe for potential labor contract settlement
  • $1.4 million in technology – 21st century classroom initiative
  • $350k for transportation, contractual increases and, more importantly, to accommodate career & technical center program change. We are proposing to have Career & Technical Center students who currently attend Pilgrim High School instead attend Toll Gate High School full time, so as to not lose 10 full days of instructional time out of their year just traveling between schools. We need 3 additional buses to transport these students back and forth to meet Toll Gate attendance bell times
  • $300K for replacing our aging fleet of copier-printers with a more efficient and powerful managed printing system, thereby reducing future toner and paper operating costs and enhancing the scan/copy/print experience for teachers and students

We do seek the community’s support of this year’s School Committee’s Adopted Recommended budget for 2017-2018, as the school community has moved forward with consolidating buildings due to declining enrollment AND has reinvested those savings in student programming. It has been over 5 years since the community has contributed a substantial increase to the school department. Our 4% request looks to sustain what has been implemented while increasing additional student programing for the 21st century educational environment our community is seeking.

Please know that Mr. Ferrucci and I are prepared to answer any questions from anyone within the community, so feel free to send us an email with your questions and we’ll get back to you in a timely manner.

We look forward to working with you and our City Council members in making Warwick Public Schools the best it can be.

– Phil Thornton, Superintendent of  Warwick Public Schools