Warwick School Committee reveals 2018 budget proposal

WARWICK, R.I. (WPRI) — The Warwick School Committee revealed its 2018 budget proposal and a solution for the failed fire alarm systems in Norwood and Holliman Elementary Schools at a meeting Wednesday night.

After not increasing the budget last year, committee members agreed on a budget proposal increase of $4.8 million dollars.

“The big numbers driving the increase is the projected teacher contract settlement, and technology for the high school students, the one to one computers and the promethium boards for the classrooms,” said Warwick Public Schools Superintendent Phillip Norton.

Eating up costs in this current budget are the repairs to the failed fire alarm systems at two schools. Eyewitness News has learned it cost $14,000 per school to install new panels. It will cost $43,000 to design a new system, and it could cost up to $110,000 per school to install a brand new system.

Thornton added, “And if you put it into perspective, right now, we have 12 or 13 other schools in Warwick with fire alarms that are equally as old as these.”

While Superintendent Thornton admits it was a communications breakdown, and he should’ve informed parents, teachers and students about the failed fire alarms earlier, Mayor Scott Avedisian says his office looked into the matter as well.

Thornton says there is a plan in place for informing parents, but he hopes the city will see his plan to better fund the schools.

“We have a lot of needs in Warwick in terms of our capital. That’s why we’re really trying to work with the city council to move forward to have a capital plan for the schools going forward,” said Thornton.

The school committee’s budget proposal will now move to the Mayor, who plans to review it in the coming weeks. It will eventually go to the city council next month.