A group of parents, teachers and students protested proposed cuts to the on Thursday afternoon outside .
According to East Providence Police Chief Joe Tavares, officers kept watch on the situation after the station was alerted that a group may congregate.
"There aren't hardcore protestors. They're good people that want to be heard," said the chief, noting its usual for officers to monitor meetings where contentious issues are discussed. "We take the precaution... We don't want anybody arrested."
Budget commission members moved the meeting from a third floor room to the council chambers due to capacity issues.
According to Mayor Bruce Rogers, the budget commission chairman, members finished up business within a half hour and then moved downstairs to hear concerns. It was a fairly placid meeting; only a handful of residents shouted toward the end of the session.
Michael O'Keefe, chairman of the budget commission, said no decisions were made at the meeting - it's not an absolute that middle school sports will be cut if money can be found. Concerned citizens spoke with the budget commission for about an hour.
"It was educational," he said during a telephone interview. "Many people don't know that we know middle school sports are important to people. They wanted [the budget commission] to see that there is a face to those numbers,"
He said budget commission are aware of the human elements tied to each budget cut as they have meetings with department heads. However, there is a lot of work to do.
On top of the reoccuring deficit, a building study estimated that East Providence needed an additional $20 million to fix city infrastructure.
"We said if we get through this process and there's $106,000 left over, and that's the highest priority, we'll keep middle school sports," he said. "But there's a lot of work to do."
According to the budget commission's work plan, members are expected to continue to remain in the city until the early summer. But that timeline is an estimate, said O'Keefe.