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School Committee Asks Legislators for Education Consolidation Throughout State

Chairman said now is the time for major organizational changes given the state's financial problems.

During Tuesday's school committee meeting, members voted to support legislation that asks state politicians to investigate the benefits of consolidating Rhode Island education systems.

School Committee Chairman Charles Tsonos said "now is the time" for cost-saving legislation as major organizational changes are planned for the state.

"I wanted to bring this to the school committee so we could go on record...It can be done," he said, adding communities across the country retain their sense of identity while operating in school districts larger than Rhode Island. "It's a start."

"Be it resolved that we, the East Providence School Committee, respectfully request that the General Assembly establish a Commission to recommend the reorganization and consolidation of Rhode Island’s education system so as to combine and consolidate in such a fashion that such a reorganization maintains the individual local community’s identity and responsibility presently vested therein and results in a restructured, efficient, cost effective educational system for the State of Rhode Island and its respective Cities and Towns," reads part of the resolution.

The motion passed 4-1; member Ryan Tellier was the lone no vote. He worried consolidation would indeed eradicate East Providence's identity. After the meeting, he said department merges can harm more than help, referencing local policing units.

In addition to the resolution vote, Member Chrissy Rossi read off a lengthy statement that stated the budget commission's presence was a political move, noting budget commission members are not paid for their work. Also facing dire straights, Woonsocket and Providence do not have a budget commission in their cities.

See the attached .pdf to read the whole resolution.

Kevin Oliver March 14, 2012 at 01:46 PM
Maybe Chrissy should spend more time worrying about East Providence and less time worrying about Woonsocket and Providence. In case she wasn't aware the School Committee, which she is still a part of, has its own problems.....
Bruce Zarembka March 14, 2012 at 04:16 PM
A political move? More like a movie marqee..."Coming soon to Providence, Pawtucket, Woonsocket, West Warwick...guess who...the budget commission. the fiscal status of this state and city couldn't get any worse...well maybe it can if we keep electing inept individuals, interested in their own political/personal gains at the city and state levels. Crissy is great for playing the political game of "It's all politics." In a way she is correct...it's been politics as usual (certainly in the City of East Providence. In regard to the request to the General Assembly...who is trying to pull the wool over the eyes of the electorate once again? Our School Committee. Regionalization/consolidation has been bantered around for a long time. I agree it needs to come to fruition in a state the size of Rhode Island, but it's not going to happen in the next year. So what is this School Committee trying to do? Come election time they will go to the voters and say. Hey we came up with a great idea, we asked the state to start looking at regionalization...well guess what? The real reason this is being done is a last ditch effort to try to save their own ass in Novembers elections. As I stated above, regionalization needs to come into play, but to the East Providence School Committee, don't try to fool the voters of the city again, with a blatant attempt to say you actually did something positive. You've only mirrored what many in the state have been saying for a long time. "The Jig Is Up"
Paul March 14, 2012 at 04:53 PM
Do any of our elected officials have any intention of doing anything other than posturing? From week to week, month to month, School Committee Meetings and City Council Meetings come and go, and no concrete decisions are made and no actions taken to attack our budget problem. Ms. Rossi should understand that we, the taxpayers, are grateful to have these 'non-elected officials' on the state budget committee filling the leadership void that she and her colleagues have created. The only way that she and others can shed a favorable light on their own abysmal performance is to compare themselves to Woonsocket or Pawtucket. You, Ms. Rossi, answer to US, the East Providence Taxpayers, and you and your ilk need to look inward to fix our city, not outward to what other cities are facing. Napoleon said: "Never ascribe to malice that which can be adequately explained by incompetence". So this is what we are reduced to. Hoping that our elected officials are merely incompetent and that they are not maliciously mismanaging our tax dollars, sinking our property values, neglecting our children, and slowly suffocating our City.
Rags 1 March 14, 2012 at 08:57 PM
Consolidation, consolidation, consolidation-that is the key to statewide educational standards, fiscal reponsibility, elimination of duplication etc. etc. You know the drill. Many, many counties are larger than Little Rhody and have one system with elected officials and a single Super. One budget, one tax bill, one school committee, one set of transportation costs, purchasing, contracts, human resources etc. etc.. Education is too expensive, especially with state and federal mandates without funding, at a local level. The kids deserve better than local politicians bickering and accomplishing little at too much of an expense. You would be amased at how competitive sports can be between schools and locations. Better think outside of the box if you want to solve the problem. Glad to see the EP School Committee had the courage to speak up and start think regionally and statewide funding. Politicians at all levels have too much 15 minitues of fame and no results.
Rumford Resident March 15, 2012 at 11:15 AM
Just another distraction from Tsonos Charlie, you ran on saving money in EP! Dont distract the voters by a consolidation strategy that is out of scope right now. Why dont you do what you have control over, the EP school department. Cut all of this waste and save all of the money in EP. That is what you ran on. You didnt run on a consolidation plan. You ran on saving money on EP admin, and then giving us all a tax cut. Finish this thought before distracting us with this meaningless recommendation. Again, when the school sports issue was raised last month, you publicly said the money could be found. Well...... Are you ready to let us all in on where the money for sports is? Thank you budget commission for doing what the weaklings on this current school committee could not do on their own. What they were elected to do.
taxpayer March 15, 2012 at 11:46 AM
Rumford... We had an audit by the city from B&E and they didn't find"wate" as you say...and all the recomendations asside from All Day K and middle school sports this school committee has fully supported! Tell me, if Tsonos was to walk on water, would your firts post be that Tsonos can't swim???? Thankfully we have O'Keefe and the budget commission, and week after week they are finding the waste! ON THE CITY SIDE!!!!! Look at Woonsocket, they need the state funding paid earlier, just like EP did, but they are still talking about a suplimental tax on top of that!!! This is something that O'Keefe is trying to avoid! And to Mrs Rossi...just what does the new Senate District lines in Riverside have to do with our having a budget commission???
taxpayer March 15, 2012 at 11:50 AM
unlike most Rhode Island politicians...this school committee has taken a stance on the need for regionalization! Everyone talks about it, they did something, maybe only a small action, BUT it was an action non the less!
Rumford Resident March 15, 2012 at 11:54 AM
I'm just repeating back Tsonos words as published in the Providence Journal, on this site, on his campaign internet site, and on his published material that was passed out door to door. I didnt say this stuff.. He did. He ran on a promise to 'cut the fat and the waste and the admin' which would allow for a 'tax cut'. To the unions Tsonos walks on water. I'm just trying to insure the average folks know what a charlatan he truly is As for the budget commission, I will let time tell what they implement, but I doubt too many people will be pleased, but mainly the unions will scream the loudest, which will mean it is a balanced strategy to solve the problems. Glad we have a commission to make the tough choices. The choices Tsonos was elected to make. The choices they dont make, but then have the nerve to blame the budget commission for....
Rumford Resident March 15, 2012 at 11:58 AM
As Tim Duffy said in the Projo today, if this school committee was serious, they would talk directy to neighboring communities and plan it out themselves. They dont need the state of RI permission. Just DO IT! This is nothing but a distraction from doing real work. But that would mean rolling up their sleaves and actually doing some work. No, nice headline but signifies nothing. Which will be the history of this council and school committee No accomplishments, but they liked to blame everyone else
Next City Manager March 15, 2012 at 05:00 PM
I challenge every reader to read the police and fire working contracts, you want fat, you'll find fat. You will not believe what you read. Very few firefighters are actually on straight time, there are so many provisions that place them in a double pay scenario, you would think a firefighter wrote the contract, Read it .
Just the Facts March 15, 2012 at 09:18 PM
Hey Mike! It's getting old! Nobody wants to hear your crap! You're a lifetime looser on probation awaiting trial! You're nothing wanna be who doesn't live in EP. Everybody knows it, so how about you slither back uder the rock from which you came. I think your Mommy is calling! You know, from 1010 Main st!!
Govstench March 16, 2012 at 02:31 AM
Rags, you are right on the mark. Consolidation is the key that must take place. All non-educational administrative functions in the school dept must be merged into the city's financial section - they are already handling the financial affairs of the rest of the city, why not education. The School Committee would be free to deal with the educational needs of the district.
June Coan March 16, 2012 at 06:06 AM
Hey "Just the Facts", it's "loser" not "looser", although it seems that NCM does have some "loose screws" in his head.
Arthur Dolloff March 17, 2012 at 08:06 PM
Agreed there was many things they balked at fixing, just needed time to pick other political targets for self advancement.
Arthur Dolloff March 17, 2012 at 08:09 PM
I do not think that smelly stuff he is walking on is water just his own bull s*$%
Next City Manager March 20, 2012 at 01:24 PM
Is the tax bill getting old from all this nonsense? I'm gonna reduce EP taxes by 50 percent when I become the City Manager. Instead of paying firefighters and police double pay on their birthdays, the mayor can grab a cake from morning star bakery and sing happy birthday at city hall over a PA system.

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