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EWG SC approves school budget

March 16, 2011

WEST GREENWICH—The Exeter West Greenwich School Committee approved the adoption of the final budget for 2011-12 school year on Tuesday night, at a total operational cost of $30, 828, 944.
The school committee unanimously approved the final 2011-12 school year budget, with the cost to Exeter at $10,365,920 and the cost to West Greenwich at $12,411,315.
Clerk Valerie Zuercher brought about her concern that the district is providing transportation to parochial schools at a cost of $345,000. The majority of the committee agreed with the concern and Superintendent Thomas Geismar agreed to take a more in-depth look at how other districts are dealing with such costs.
The school committee also approved a motion for separating the all-day referendum into two polling places – with one polling place in each town. The West Greenwich polling location will be at the fire department, while the Exeter polling location will be at the town library. Each polling location will be open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Geismar points out the division of polling location comes at no extra cost and will allow the committee members to better see how each town is voting.
The policy for budget approval by referendum was also approved for adoption, with the change that amendments to the budget be submitted 30 days before the all-day referendum, rather than the 10-day requirement currently outlined in the policy and the charter.
As a result, the committee also approved ratifying the charter language to reflect this process change.
Committee members did express concern over how many times a budget can go back to an all-day referendum should votes not reach a majority for a particular proposal. The committee’s legal council points out that should a budget not be approved by the start of the 2011-12 school year, the district would be forced to revert back to last year’s budget.
In other news, the committee has postponed the approval of the 2011-12 school year calendar until their next meeting.
The committee received feedback from a teacher’s union survey and from the student councils regarding the elimination of February vacation. Geismar and the committee agreed that further review of these results is needed before approving the calendar.
Member Zuercher pointed out that perhaps the committee was “too hasty in the decision to eliminate February vacation.” The calendar should be back on the table for approval by the next regular school committee meeting on March 22.

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