Final meeting over Warwick school consolidation proposal gets heated

WARWICK, R.I. (WPRI) — The third and final public hearing over the controversial plan to consolidate Warwick City Schools became very heated.

Monday night’s meeting was attended by more then 100 people including parents, teachers and former students, weighing in with their thoughts and concerns.

Parents believe the Warwick District needs to slow down, in light of recent changes on the high school and middle school levels.

However, school officials say their decision is based on data they’ve collection on diving enrollment.

“We have many schools that are running well under capacity,” said Superintendent Philip Thornton. “It’s just not fiscally responsible and it just doesn’t make sens to run schools that aren’t 60 percent full.”

The proposed plan would close John Wickes and Randall Holden Elementary schools. John Brown Francis would then be reopened as a new early childhood center, while Drum Rock Center would serve as additional space for Warwick’s career and technical center.

Those who opposed the plan Monday night, backed their opinion with concerns of overpopulation, decreased resources and increased traffic.

“My children have incredible teachers and they will do great,” said parent Tracey McDonnell Wysor. “My concern is they’re not going to get as many opportunities in the school system as other schools might.”

A handful of elementary students were at the meeting, where they begged the committee to not close their school.

If the proposal passes, one in eight students will go to different schools next year.

The committee is schedule to make a decision when it votes next Tuesday night.