School Committee Approves Powell, Murphy for Construction Committee

by | Mar 24, 2024

They also discuss how to best present the budget for next year

The School Committee approved naming Chair Alyson Powell and Committeeman Kevin Murphy to the new School Construction Committee at their March 19 meeting. The Town Council has already approved their two members: President Mark Schwager and Vice President Mike Donegan. The vote was 6-0; Powell was absent.

The panel that will guide design and construction of the $150 million schools project approved by voters last November. The charge for the School Construction Committee calls for 12 members – mostly elected officials or employees of the town or schools. But there are 2 positions open to residents with experience in construction. Those members have yet to be named. 

Murphy praised Committeeman Tim Munoz for his service to the community as a member of the now-defunct School Building Committee. Murphy, Munoz and Powell all served on that panel. Supt. Brian Ricca also praised Munoz, crediting him with helping get the project this far as well as for recognizing the educational components of the project. 

“True thanks from an educator to someone who heard the educational rationale,” Ricca said. 

Munoz urged Powell and Murphy to remain steadfast in their protection of School Committee rights. 

“We fought in recent weeks for the rights of School Committees,” he said, referring to the conflict that arose in February when it appeared the Town Council was going to bypass the School Committee in naming members to the School Construction Committee. Supt. Ricca sought guidance from the state Dept. of Education on what body had control but pulled the letter back after Donegan and Powell worked out an agreement. 

“You’re going to face a lot of pressure … but what we’re doing is working for the best interests of the schools,” Munoz said Tuesday. “That’s why we had to go through that process, to affirm the enumerated rights of the School Committee. It’s going to be our job as a body to keep our eye on the ball.… “

The panel also discussed what they want the 2024-25 budget to look like when Ricca presents it April 9. In particular, they talked about how to show the Town Council – which ultimately controls the budget’s fate – what the district needs and what is lost if funding is less than what the district says it needs. 

In a presentation put together by Vice Chair Nicole Bucka to guide discussion (find it HERE), she suggested the budget show how there’s been systemic underfunding from local, state and federal sources for years. 

She also recommended framing “the ask” in a way that helps the Town Council to understand all the district is mandated to provide and what will happen without sufficient funds.  

“We have systemic underfunding,” said Bucka. 

The School Committee must approve a budget to send to the town by Sept. 15. Town Manager Andy Nota then has until May 1 to present his overall town budget – of which the school budget is a part. The Town Council has to approve the budget, which starts July 1, by June 10. 

Value the news you get here on East Greenwich News? As a 501-c3, we depend on reader support. Become a sustaining (monthly) donor or make a one-time donation! Click on the Donate button below or send a check to EG News, 18 Prospect St., East Greenwich, RI 02818. Thanks.

Notify of

Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Peter Carney
Peter Carney
April 2, 2024 6:10 pm

Editor – when did it appear “the Town Council was going to bypass the School Committee in naming members to the School Construction Committee”? The initial draft of the new committee referenced listed a spot for at least one school committee member plus the Superintendent, correct?


Newsletter Sign Up

* indicates required


Latest Streaming