Hearing on Closing Oldham Tonight
The East Providence School Committee is hosting a public hearing in Riverside Middle School to allow people to comment on the recommendation to close Oldham Elementary School in Riverside.
A public hearing on the proposed closing of Oldham Elementary School in Riverside is tonight at the Riverside Middle School. It starts at 7 pm.
“The purpose of this public hearing is to hear rationale for and reaction to” the proposed closure, according to Interim Superintendent John DeGoes.
DeGoes made the recommendation to the School Committee on Jan. 10 after a charge by the East Providence Budget Commission to trim the budget by closing a school because of declining enrollment in the district. (See the Patch story.)
“All interested parties are invited to attend and offer comments regarding this proposal,” DeGoes said.
In short, DeGoes told the School Committee: “It’s the best move at this time, the only move. Any other move would be cost-prohibitive.”
Oldham is one of the oldest schools and the smallest elementary school in the city, he said. All the pupils at Oldham but new kindergarten kids and the staff would be moved to Waddington Elementary School in Riverside. Kindergarten pupils would attend the Meadowcrest School.
The school needs between $2 million and $2.5 million on fire safety, security and the roof for the deteriorating building, he said, which the RI Department of Education does not favor spending
Closing Oldham School also disrupts the fewest number of students, 178, and it adds no additional transportation costs, he said.
No teachers will be laid off. They will all be moved to Waddington. It’s the rehabilitation costs that are the major expense to be avoided, he said.
“I could see some education benefit” in several other alternatives considered, he said. “But the problem was the cost factor, and displacing students from all the schools – not just one – while making a major reorganization of school lines.”
“Those options didn’t work,” he said. “My final conclusion was to close Oldham School.”