The Biggest Question: Will the Town Council Agree to Give the Schools Additional Money?  

By Elizabeth F. McNamara

When the Town Council and the School Committee meet Monday evening, Town Manager Gayle Corrigan will present her $63 million budget proposal, including what is essentially a level-funded school appropriation, and Supt. Victor Mercurio will present the school budget, which would require a $1.3 million increase in funding from the town.

The meeting will address the gap between the two budgets.

Corrigan’s budget proposal offers the schools $500,000 over current year funding but it also returns administrative costs back to the schools that it had taken over last year as part of the One Town initiative. It’s unclear why those costs are shifting back to the schools just as the School Committee agreed to merge its finance department with the town.

The budget gives the schools around $100,000 in capital funding for security enhancements.  

Unlike in previous years, the budget released by Corrigan earlier this month is a slim document with no accompanying narrative and no historical information. For comparison, here is the proposed 2019 budgets for North Kingstown (P. 41 for budget), Smithfield (p. 21 for budget), and South Kingstown (a huge document, but p. 67 will give you general budget summaries).

“It was fine to me because I’m just looking at where we’re going to end up,” said Town Councilman Nino Granatiero about the lack of detail in Corrigan’s budget. “It’s not important for me when looking at the upcoming budget to look at the past three.”

Following the budget hearing Monday night, the Town Council will take another vote on implementing a 56-hour work week at the fire department. The council voted to approve the implementation in April, which was done with an eye on the case before Superior Court Judge Susan McGuirl. But at that meeting, Town Solicitor David D’Agostino reassured council members that a vote that night would not be the last word on the matter. But Judge McGuirl Friday told lawyers for the town (Tim Cavazza) and the firefighters (Elizabeth Wiens) that a definitive vote would need to be taken. So, the council will vote on the issue again Monday.

Also on the Town Council agenda is a vote on appointing Peter Henrikson, fire chief of the EG Fire District from 2010 to 2013, deputy fire chief, under interim Chief Kevin Robertson.


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