Woonsocket, R.I. schools face budget problems
WOONSOCKET, R.I. (WHDH) -- The Woonsocket, Rhode Island school district is dealing with a massive budget crunch -- one that may put student learning in jeopardy.
The school department is on track to run out of money at the end of the month, and the school committee chair suggest as a last resort, that schools close on April 5, because there could be no money to pay anyone.
“In April now? I think that’s dangerous. I think kids should be in school longer. Like, year round,” said Jennifer Gelinas, a parent.
“I will tell you that I will do everything in my power to keep the doors open,” said the superintendent.
The superintendent says not only is it against state law to close schools that early; it's not good for the children. Right now, they're banking on a few things: get state aide now that's scheduled for June, and secure a supplemental tax increase that would make up for the missed June payment.
But even the superintendent concedes those are short-term solutions.
“That fills today’s needs. We have to look long-term, and I don’t mean just one year, I’m talking five, 10 years from now,” the superintendent said.
School leaders hope to decrease some costs by re-negotiating seniority-based pay increases for teachers and health care benefits for retirees.
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