Preparing for the next budget.

As I wrote this piece in August of last year, the district had already seen 40+ employees announce their decisions to leave South Kingstown schools. These were mostly voluntary resignations or retirements, with a few extended leaves of absence.  Several more announced their departures by October, but the 40+ is sufficient to make an important... Continue Reading →

The Changing Needs of South Kingstown

South Kingstown is different than it was 20 years ago.  If you watch the local goings-on in Town Hall or during School Committee meetings, you might think it is a problem.  Often heard is that “over 55” developments have crowded out the younger families needed to fill our schools.  A recurring "solution" is to shoe-horn... Continue Reading →

Is this turnover “normal”?

In the 10 years I have been involved with our school district, including 2 years on the Committee and 4 on a subcommittee, I tried to bring my own perspective and expertise to the table.  I employ 60+ people in my business, and have hired hundreds over the years.  Our employees are critical to the... Continue Reading →

August 13, 2019 SC Meeting Notes

Concerns about forward thinking still are being heard. Last night's meeting had a loaded agenda, with very little dialogue on some pretty visible and critical topics.  Lasting just over an hour, some pretty hot button topics were pushed through.  These are some of my notes and thoughts organized around the different agenda sections.  Executive session... Continue Reading →

On Coventry and “Found” Funds

Should money matter in schools? The current School Committee argued that it should not.  At different points during the campaigns, they hammered on this exact point.  One stated “The budget is just a minor constraint” during a voter forum. Another noted “The education of our kids is more than a budget line item.”  Once seated,... Continue Reading →

Dr. Hicks is the obvious choice.

The decision to offer Dr. Robert Hicks an interim Superintendent position is an interesting one. He is a respected administrator and in my view did a phenomenal job in the recruiting and interviewing of his successor a decade ago.  Beginning early in his final school year, community stakeholders from all parts of town were brought... Continue Reading →

Not Fun Being Right.

The RIDE rejection of our Stage 2 application has been made public.  Incomplete, discrepancies, no information provided, these phrases litter the complete response from the RI School Building Authority.  A lot of folks are shaking their heads, trying to figure out what happened, who to blame, what to do next.  The answers are painfully clear,... Continue Reading →

Overtaxed by $165,000

Here’s a quick summary of the recent “over-tax” vote: Town Manager recommends a 1% increase to school funds.The School Committee asks for more school funding and by necessity would reduce the municipal program increases.  The infamous “cut list” is employed.In conjunction with recommended municipal increases, the maximum allowable transfer to the schools was calculated at... Continue Reading →

The “Cut List”.

The fiscal “challenges” are there every year.  The only difference is how the elected folks deal with them.  The budget process for the schools is frighteningly predictable.  For the last 10 years, the same pressures have existed. Consider the following factors. Enrollment drops by another 50 to 100 kids as larger graduating classes are replaced... Continue Reading →

Schools or Bridges?

In a recent Town Manager’s Flag Report, the following “Flag” was raised: “All departments preparing for budget reduction scenarios.” Two months prior, the first of many budget meetings was held in which tax thresholds were discussed.  There was stark recognition and explicit acknowledgement of the balance that shifts with every budget decision made.  Despite some... Continue Reading →

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