Schools hire audit consultant as lawsuit appears imminent

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The Warwick School Committee on Tuesday night voted unanimously in favor of hiring a program audit consultant to perform an analysis of the Warwick Public Schools district and make a determination as to whether or not they are performing in line with state standards outlined in the Basic Educational Plan (BEP).

The total cost of $15,740 to the district will have to be added to the budget, as it was not part of the Superintendent’s recommended budget for FY19. The consultant is Robert Hicks, of Wakefield, who has been superintendent of schools in East/West Greenwich, South Kingstown and Block Island. Hicks was also called upon to be a consultant for the receiver of Central Falls as the city went through its bankruptcy process in 2012.

The hiring of Hicks completes half of the necessary process to prepare for what seems to be an imminent Caruolo Action to be waged by the School Department, which is a lawsuit filed against a municipality that seeks additional funding for the schools on the grounds they cannot adequately provide educational programming based on funds allocated.

The other part of the independent audit would examine the financial implications of programming deployed within Warwick schools and make comparisons to how similarly sized districts, such as Cranston, perform their own operations. The two audit consultants are designed to work together on making these recommendations – however no bids for the financial portion of the audit were received by Tuesday’s meeting.

Finance Director Anthony Ferrucci said he is still actively seeking bids for the financial piece to the audit and would be setting up a schedule with Hicks by the end of the week. Provided they can secure a consultant, he expects the audit work to occur throughout July and August and for their recommendations to be ready by September or October at the latest.

“If we need to seek additional funding we need to do it while we still have time to manage the budget,” Ferrucci said.

As it stands, the School Department received $1.5 million of the additional $8 million requested from the Warwick City Council during budget proceedings. Ferrucci and Thornton have indicated multiple times that they will be unable to simply cut their way to a balanced budget, which is why they are preparing to possibly take the city to court.

If the School Department projects a deficit for the upcoming fiscal year during their next meeting in July, it will automatically trigger a separate financial audit from the state Office of the Auditor General to confirm or challenge their fiscal situation.

Comments

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richardcorrente

The School Committee (SC) isn't getting the increase in their budget that they asked for. No one expected that they would.

Every department is making do with less in these hard economic times. The SC doesn't seem to understand that.

The SC just laid off another 72 teachers reducing their numbers to about 896. That also reduces cost of those salaries.

Our student population is now down below 9,000.

The SC keeps closing schools dramatically reducing their overhead.

And with all this downsizing, the SC SHOULD be asking for less money. But the SC wants more money, and if they don't get it they are threatening to sue.

And they understand that in order to sue the City the SC needs an INDEPENDANT audit.

And they want to A.) be allowed to pick the so-called INDEPENDANT AUDITOR and B.) have the TAXPAYERS PAY FOR IT!!!

Honest question:

Are you KIDDING ME??? The SC wants to sue the City (taxpayers) and have the City (taxpayers) pick up the tab??

NO WAY!!

Here's another honest question:

How can the auditor be INDEPENDANT if it is picked by the very party that wants the new increased budget? What would keep the SC from unfairly influencing the auditor?? Shouldn't it be picked by the City Council?? Or acting Mayor Solomon??Or by a lottery?? Or anyone BUT the SC??

THAT WOULD BE AN INDEPENDANT AUDIT!!!!!!!!!!!!!

THAT would be something the taxpayer should be willing to pay for because I feel it would show a clear and honest picture (for the first time in years!) of where the taxpayers money is actually spent! The taxpayers deserve to know just where their one-and-a-half BILLION dollars (since 2009) have gone. I strongly favor an INDEPENDANT audit, just not a biased one. I've been calling for one for years. I have said "before we give them another dime!" Now I think we should call their bluff. Just make sure it isn't a tainted audit. Make sure it's a true, unbiased, INDEPENDANT audit. Make sure the findings are made PUBLIC, and I'm sure we will all respect the results. It might even help repair the reputation of the SC. Maybe.

Happy Summer everyone.

Rick Corrente

The Taxpayers Mayor.

Thursday, June 14
PaulHuff

Holy Smokes.....for once I actually agree with Mr. Corrente.

Thursday, June 14
Thecaptain

Dear Mayor Dumbness,

You do realize that the majority of the funding request of 8 million bucks is ear marked for teacher salary increases? You do understand that dont you? Those would be salary increases for the 64% of teachers that do not reside in Warwick, that do not have a tax obligation to Warwick, that send their kids to private schools and schools other than in Warwick, and that are in the 2 percentile of highest paid teachers in the country, yet produce some of the lowest grades in the country. You do understand that dont you ? Or are you completely oblivious?

Thursday, June 14
Cat2222

Why not have an independent audit of our teachers contracts and salaries, compare it to similar districts and see how we come out? That would be helpful as well. Why not take an all inclusive approach now that we are starting fresh and have an honest and raw discussion about both? Heck, go all the way and look at how we do business as a city. Isn't it time to throw politics aside and start looking at how we do business as a whole?

Friday, June 15
The_Riddler

Lying Rob Cote

Friday, June 15
CrickeeRaven

Honestly, Thecaptain, it's stunning how much information the make-believe mayor willingly ignores so he can bash the school committee.

[And how he can't spell "independent" correctly even though he had six tries at it.]

He also continues to get basic facts wrong.

"Our student population is now down below 9,000."

This is a lie. The state Department of Education reports that Warwick's school population is 9,124: http://infoworks.ride.ri.gov/district/warwick

As we know, the make-believe mayor will continue to humiliate himself with his false statements.

Monday, June 18
richardcorrente

Dear CrickeeRaven,

Your number of Warwick students comes from the state Dept. of Education. Their calculations are not up to the minute. My number came from the Warwick Superintendent of Schools office on June 13, 2018 from a lady named Kathy who referred to herself as Superintendent Dr. Phil's assistant. I have to believe that her number is much more current and therefore calling me out on it and referring to it as a "lie" is another attempt on your part to misguide the reader away from the big picture of Warwick loosing so many students while the School Committee is asking for more money to give themselves bigger paychecks..

Anyone can criticize hiding behind a fake-name. Only an adult would stand by their own word.

Fake news. Fake sources. Fake people. Fake names.

happy Summer everyone.

Rick Corrente

The Taxpayers Mayor

Tuesday, June 19
CrickeeRaven

Finally, the make-believe mayor shows that he can do basic research -- and then promptly humiliates himself again by attacking other commenters' use of screen names, which is, as has been explained many times, allowed by this website.

He also does not provide the specific number that "Kathy" provided him, so there is no way to prove that his claim of fewer than 9,000 students is factually correct.

"Fake news. Fake sources. Fake people. Fake names."

The "fake news" is that the make-believe mayor has any chance of winning election this year. The 'fake sources' are the many other ones he has used to claim false changes in student enrollment, population, and businesses in Warwick. The "fake people" are the imaginary voters that he thinks will support him, and the "fake name" is the title he has given himself despite losing the 2016 election.

Tuesday, June 19
skuntze

"Finance Director Anthony Ferrucci said he is still actively seeking bids for the financial piece to the audit and would be setting up a schedule with Hicks by the end of the week. Provided they can secure a consultant, he expects the audit work to occur throughout July and August and for their recommendations to be ready by September or October at the latest."

Has a firm been selected? Where is the request for a proposal posted? I didn't see it on the Warwick Public Schools website or the RIDE website, maybe I missed it?

Tuesday, June 19