LETTERS

Why people are leaving Warwick

Posted

To the Editor:

As a mother of two Warwick public school students, it is so disheartening and frustrating to see all that is going on with the education system. I am a graduate of the Warwick school system – attending Greenwood, Winman, and Toll Gate. I was always proud to have my kids in the school system and took such pride in the education my children were receiving. But in the 19 years since I have graduated, I have seen how far Warwick has fallen. I’ve seen first hand how the school system has gone down hill and screwed not only the teachers, but the students. Our children are the driving force. They are the future. They are the reason that education exists. As parents, as human beings, as adults, the most important thing to all of us should be the education of children. These are our future mayors, scientists, sports players, engineers, artists, nurses and how can we expect them to achieve all of that when all the adults want to do is play the blame game and throw money management around like it’s nothing?

For years, the people of Warwick have been screwed and as the days go on, you see the city falling apart. Roads that have potholes and that are in desperate need of repair. Empty buildings that just sit in lots with boarded up windows and grass waist high. Schools that have been closed down and children shoved into overflowing classrooms. Sports fields and parks that are in despair and have seen better days.

Warwick is not meant for families. Not any more. And living here everyday just proves that more and more. It finally all makes sense. It all makes sense why families and people leave Warwick altogether, why they move to other budding cities. It all makes sense on why parents choose to send their child to a ridiculously expensive private school or charter school or any other school that offers so much more than they would receive in the Warwick school department. It’s embarrassing.

It was heartbreaking for me to attend the RI Interscholastic League softball banquet last night where so many amazing players were recognized and to sit there with the 6 girls from Toll Gate while they cried when they found out that their school committee members had voted to get rid of so many things, including sports.

This fight – this protest – is not just about sports. It’s about the teacher assistants that are not available for the students that need them. It’s for the janitors that aren’t there to keep the schools clean and children healthy. It’s for the students that work so hard to get their high school diploma who are only told that their diploma won’t mean anything when they should be going off to college. It’s for all of us.

Children are the future. They always have been and they always will be. They will be here long after we’re gone and will continue that on with their own children and their children’s children. And to have adults that can look at these children and listen to these children and say “sorry” is just insulting.

Why does no one consider cutting the salaries of the highest administrators? Why does no one consider not overfunding pension plans and retiree benefits? Why does no one consider how ridiculous it is to have a completely air conditioned school department building while Toll Gate’s bridge is collapsing? Or Winman’s HVAC system doesn’t work? Why are the priorities in the wrong place?

Taxes are being increased and yet, we’re funding the city side more than the school side. Yes, the city is a whole and the school population makes up a smaller portion of that, but wouldn’t it be logical to say that if we had a better school system, better support, better opportunities that families would want to stay in Warwick and better yet move to Warwick? There have been too many meetings and too much money spent on trying to figure out why the population is declining when the citizens of Warwick could tell you that answer for free. It’s because of the school committee and the city council.

These kids will not go down without a fight. And they will remember all of this when it comes election time because as the months and years go on, they will become of voting age. Change is coming.

Cathy Ready

Warwick

Comments

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davebarry

Cathy, how are our fine Warwick teachers being 'screwed' to use your crude vernacular? They are some of the highest paid teachers in the state. We pay top dollar but get results that are very poor. The city has financial issues. The school department failed to close unneeded schools for over a decade. The school committee put of redistricting because it is 'hard'. No body wanted their neighborhood school closed so delay, delay, delay. Meanwhile, taxes are going up again and we still have poor results and STILL need to close buildings. You can cry about kids being 'our future' all you want. Kids don't pay taxes. Kids do need to learn that nothing in life is free and bad budgeting and overpaying salaries due to threats of work to rule and strikes lead to a poor education and a broken city.

Tuesday, June 25
Thecaptain

My thoughts exactly. How are the SUBSTANDARD TEACHERS getting screwed? 87 % of the teachers are at top step. 14,000 school districts in the United States and Warwick teachers are in the top 2% for salary and benefits. How are the teachers getting screwed? $13.46 million in raises in this contract. While I agree that there needs to be a hair cut on the administration side, the vast portion of the dollars in the budget are teacher salaries.

Also, one question for Cathy. How many times have you attended the city budget hearings? Be truthful.

Tuesday, June 25
Warwick Freemason

I completely agree with you Cathy. My wife and I left Warwick and originally moved to Coventry, but we have since moved to Florida. A huge problem that no one in RI and neighboring states like to talk about is unions... Unions put a huge financial burden on municipalities... The problem is never going to go away as long as folks continue to vote for Democrats who are controlled by them. You can only "Tax" people so much before they eventually pack up and leave. Think of how much we pay in taxes for a moment... My wife and I lived on Warwick Neck in a modest colonial, our real estate taxes were over $9,000 a year, we also had a hefty excise tax on two-relatively new cars, sewer tax / water bill was over $1,000... Just to own a home and two cars we were paying north of $11,000... For what? Our schools are under-performing (but thanks to unions, are teachers are some of the highest in the state ); our roads are horrendous and are under constant road construction. Then we need to talk about public utilities... Due to the union employees working for National Grid, our energy costs (gas and electric) are some of the highest in the country. In the end, my wife and I decided, we no longer wanted to contribute to making millionaires out of blue-collar, union employees when they retire with these unbelievable pensions and absurd retirement packages. We sold our home, moved to Florida and we now have a brand new 5-bedroom, 4-bathroom, 3,400 square foot home with an inground pool on Lake Toho in Kissimmee. The community is called "Bellalago." Please feel free to google it and check it out. The homes are beautiful the community is meticulous! Our real estate taxes... Less than $4,000 a year, HOA fee is about $1,000 a year, there is no excise tax on cars, no state income tax and our utilities are less than half what they were in Warwick and Coventry... Why? THERE ARE NO UNIONS!!!! Bellalago has its OWN charter school and every child that lives in the community can attend without worrying about a "lottery system." Leaving RI was the best decision we ever made! While, I admit we both miss home, we do not regret our decision one bit. To get our "winter fix," we visit around the holidays for a couple weeks, but then we head right back to Florida and spend the "winter" in our pool... Another perk to being a Florida resident, we get annual passes to Disney World for about $900 per person. We can visit everyday of the year if we want. We go to Disney as much as folks up north go to the mall or the movies!!! Even when you include the three-passes to Disney, we still pay less annually than what we would be paying in RI to own a home, cars, etc. Once again, why? There ARE NO UNIONS! Florida is run by fiscally conservative Republicans!!!

Gotta go, going to Disney tonight with the family for a couple hours... we haven't been in a couple weeks...

I will forever be...

Warwick Freemason

The Taxpayer's Freemason

Tuesday, June 25
justanidiot

tells us all about how grates it is when a hurrimicane rips up your property and FL has to beg again fer money from da feds to rebuild cause FL dont gots no money.

Tuesday, June 25
Norm88

Davebarry,

Taxes are going up have very little to do with the school budget Per Mr. Cushman "A decade ago, the ratio of school-to-city spending was 64-36 percent. The ratio today stands at 53-47. Under this dramatic shift, the city budget received $40 million in new tax dollars while schools only got $1.4 million."

So by simple math all most all of the tax increase went to the city side of the budget... So for you to blame just the teachers is way off and the numbers do not support it..

Tuesday, June 25
davebarry

Norm88....schools still cost us over half of all tax dollars. You are confusing two issues. Also, they received less from the city because they got more from the state. Their funding has gone up. Also, did you count the fact that there was over 12 million in salary increases over the life of the last couple of contracts? We cannot keep giving city workers 3% raises each year. Inflation has been low. We need to have zero hiring and zero raises for the next couple of contracts and we need to have layoffs.

Tuesday, June 25
Norm88

daveberry,

No I am not confusing anything. The Schools received $1.4 million of new tax dollars in the last 10 years the school budget is lower than in 2010, so under funded and mismanaged they still ultimately saved the city tax dollars but squandered what they did have..

Just like anything else if you don't properly reinvest at a proper level this is the end result...

Tuesday, June 25
Hepdog

When 35% of a city budget goes straight to union retirees for their pensions and healthcare, something is seriously out of whack

Tuesday, June 25
Cat

One of the biggest issues faced is contracts approved over the past 18 years cannot just be broken. You can't just rip it up null and void and start over. No union is going to give up what they currently have so stating we need to start with that is naive. It will take a lot of time and money (we don't have) to get out of the hole we have been digging for 2 decades.

Wednesday, June 26
justanidiot

yes cat, contracts cants be broken, but da skul committee has knucked under everytime. dey have to stand tough and tink of da kids and taxing payers. da onion is looking out for the teachers so day is covered. easy choices were made years upon year and now we are paying for it. skuls suck, famblies are leebing, tax base is shrinking. skul costs are soaring. buck up skul committee and fight all da unions until dey is broken

Wednesday, June 26
John Stark

Ms. Ready, With respect, which students, specifically, "are only told that their diploma won’t mean anything when they should be going off to college." And who told them that? I think we'd all like to hear how teachers in the system are getting "screwed", exactly, when they are some of the highest paid teachers in the state producing some of the most deplorable academic outcomes. Finally, your reference to "ridiculously expensive" private schools. Hendricken is about $15,000 per year, or about 25% LESS THAN it costs to educate one kid at Tollgate or Pilgrim, with dramatically superior results. So if $15k is "ridiculously expensive", how do we characterize the cost to educate a kid in Warwick? "Outrageously expensive"? "Unthinkably expensive"? Perhaps the Warwick school budget should be cut by 25% to bring it back to merely "ridiculously expensive".

Thursday, June 27
justanidiot

donts ferget mister starks dat youse gots to pay for students at pubic skuls in addition to paying fer yer brat at hendricken. sews it is 15000 extra dollars

Thursday, June 27
Fed up

https://www.wpri.com/news/east-greenwich-woman-agrees-to-plead-guilty-in-real-estate-fraud-case/

Wife of Warwick firefighter Thomas Brady. Yeah, he knew nothing about any of it. Typical thief,

Friday, June 28
justanidiot

peeples are leaving warwicks to move to providence to get to a bester skul system. nuff said

Friday, June 28
davebarry

Norm 88. You are again leaving out facts. First, the budget should be lower than in 2010. We have thousands less kids in the system than 2010. We've closed 7-9 buildings? State aid increased, meaning city monies did not have to. Am I missing something? Yet, the school committee has given 12 million in raises. To the highest paid teachers in America. How much can we afford? We could even celebrate their high pay if they produced high achievements. Yet, no such luck. High pay for low results. Schools drive real estate values to an extent. The teachers need to find their passion again. For teaching. Not organizing.

Friday, June 28
KeepCalmandCarryOn

Why is Warwick Freemason commenting if he doesn't even live in Warwick? Typical republican and Trump supporter I'm sure.

Sunday, June 30
KeepCalmandCarryOn

Hepdog has it exactly right. Therein lies the problem

Sunday, June 30
Tom Hobson

Well you can move to coventry.the voters their are more than willing to pay.they just voted themselves a tax increase.they claim to have great schools.but trust me i lived in coventry for 27 years.its no better.yes you could have a better location for your house but that will run at least 300000 and up.so bring your checkbook.id take warwick over coventry anyday.its cheaper trust me.

Monday, July 1
Tom hobson

Better yet move to florida.then you can have that 15 an hour police officer to help you out if theres an issue.

Monday, July 1