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Tiverton Schools Endorse 2012 Budget With 3.6 Percent Increase

The $400,000 sewer replacement project is not contained in the budget. Town Councilors believe a special referendum should be held to determine how the disputed $367,000 funds should go toward the project.

In a 5-0 vote Tuesday night, the Tiverton School Committee endorsed its fiscal 2012 budget to the Budget Committee. It amounts to approximately $27.9 million in proposed spending. Director of Finance and Administration Douglas Fiore said it comes in at a 3.6 percent increase.

Superintendent William Rearick said they are still perplexed as to how the Budget Committee will want to present the $400,000 sewer replacement project to the voters and come in under the state tax cap. It's been removed from their budget presentation.

The is still sitting in the town's General Fund, restricted due to pending litigation. The School Committee wants those toward the project.

At Monday night's Town Council budget workshop, Councilor Dave Nelson said a special election, or financial town referendum, should occur to say how the funds can be spent, according to Steve Rys' video blog. Nelson said the $367,000 should be considered part of the town's reserve, and be adjusted into their total unrestricted General Fund reserve. The town is still waiting to hear if their petition to the Supreme Court will be heard regarding the disputed funds.

Schools Attorney Stephen Robinson disagreed with the notion of a special election.

"You have an election when you have something to decide," he said about the funds that were approved in the 2010 financial town meeting for the school department. "It's been decided."

Member Deb Pallasch suggested the town could be taking the strategy where, if the schools are unable to pay their bills to the town treasurer, the council could file a claim with the attorney general's office saying committee is deficit spending.

"We would suggest further legal action," Robinson said. "You have a legal decision saying the money is yours."

With the Woonsocket Education Department when it discovered it was in deeper debt than anticipated, Robinson said Tiverton is on "moral and legal high ground" regarding the disputed $367,000, having his opinion, the Board of Regents and the education commissioner in their favor. The schools' 2011 audit also came in the black.

Meet with council

The committee voted 5-0 to see if the council will meet in open session on March 14 or March 21 to discuss the disputed funds. Their suggestions last week were rejected by the council because they said they could not get a quorum.

Robinson said he agrees with arguments to have these meetings in closed session if there's a lawsuit coming to the town, but this issue is "very public."

"Let it continue in public and see what happens," he said. "We made a counter offer which they never responded to, so what’s there to talk about?"

Healthcare premium increase reduced

As the final details of the school's budget and its cuts now get hashed out with the Budget Committee, Rearick reported Tuesday night that the district's healthcare premium came in at a 10.3 percent increase, rather than the originally projected 12 percent.

To watch full-length Tiverton Town Council and School Committee meetings, go to http://www.tivertonvideos.blogspot.com.

Just Another Taxpayer March 08, 2012 at 12:16 PM
This article is about the School Department's proposed 2012-13 budget. Chicken Joe and his sidekick Jim L. want to take the attention away from the fact that the present TCC/Town Council took $367,000 from the School Department which had been approved by the voters. Chicken Joe, how about naming the 12 teachers who do not do anything. We are still waiting for you to divulge the names. Oh that's right, you can't because you do not know what you are talking about.
Jim L March 08, 2012 at 01:37 PM
Where was the CLUB when property tax's just went up n up every year and it just got feed to the schools? Where were they when all this money came in and NONE of it went to dump closer or paving, or repairs, isee lots of talk and nothing from the CLUB, Can't wait to see your endorsement's for town office when the time comes
Jim L March 08, 2012 at 01:51 PM
all this could have been avoided if the school had said" hey we got enough money to fix the septic, and they didn't, the money was left just sitting there, If the folks in power knew the septic needed fixing(and they did) why were that at least not moving forward till this happen. Anyone, and i'm not talking about After the money was taken, just the fact that this was and is a problem that was just being ignored for more than a few years anybody got an answer?
Just Another Taxpayer March 08, 2012 at 02:14 PM
You would know this if you were paying attention, the School Department has been talking about this issue for almost two years.
oldandtired March 08, 2012 at 02:38 PM
It has been explained over and over on the boards and at the school committee meetings (Please watch them before you comment!) that the schools have been meeting with DEM for YEARS about the sewer system. DEM was trying to determine whether the old system could be fixed or the schools needed to put in a new system. THAT IS WHY THEY HAD MONEY SET ASIDE. It was not just sitting around doing nothing. The school dept. knew they were going to have to do something but DEM had not decided what (setting aside money was the responsible thing to do.) DEM has finally decided they must install a new system. However, the money they had saved to address this issue has been taken by the Council. PERIOD. Give it back. I am not going to be taxed again for that money. I am not going to pay for a special election to give them money that was already given.
oldandtired March 08, 2012 at 02:41 PM
The real discussion that we should all be having is the fact that the preliminary recommendations are a 3.6% spending increase from the schools and a 3.8% spending increase from the town.
Jim L March 08, 2012 at 03:02 PM
DEM has been telling them the septic needed fixing for years, they just didn't fix it they chose to ignore it until DEM said fix it or close, and no one will be taxed twice, that just another cry wolf, the big issue here is how much the school surplus will be and if the town gives them money incase state aid doesn't come, but if it does does the town then get it back
Jim L March 08, 2012 at 03:03 PM
If the schools right now have a $200,000.00 surplus why is nothing being done about the brick repointing? are they saving it for something else?
Just Another Taxpayer March 08, 2012 at 03:05 PM
That's why the School Department was keeping the funds in reserve. Please try and keep up the story and stop making things up.
Just Another Taxpayer March 08, 2012 at 03:19 PM
Why don't you go to a School Committee meeting and ask. Maybe, you should contact the Superintendent of Schools with any questions you may have (just like any other resident would do.)
Gloria Crist March 08, 2012 at 03:36 PM
You have no idea what you are talking about. None. The school is being forced to scale back a budget-( and has done so quite well I might add)when in fact- there is money- close to half a million dollars- that belongs to the schools. That money was stolen-and quite frankly, it should be given back with interest-which any other legal institution would insist. Setting money aside is being fiscally responsible-having to fight a few who think they own the town-to get the money back that legally is owed to them is downright absurd. The TCC/Town Council is indeed making a mockery of Tiverton.
oldandtired March 08, 2012 at 04:03 PM
NO. The DEM was working with them to determine best solution. WATCH THE MEETING. They did not choose not to fix it!!!!!!!! If you are not going to listen to the facts and just continue to spout the same BS, then people ignore you and you have no credibility. Gloria is right. You have no idea what you are talking about yet you continue blah, blah, blah.
oldandtired March 08, 2012 at 04:05 PM
Once again. BS. The pointing is still in the budget.
oldandtired March 08, 2012 at 04:05 PM
I repeat: The real discussion that we should all be having is the fact that the preliminary recommendations are a 3.6% spending increase from the schools and a 3.8% spending increase from the town.
Tiverton Dad March 08, 2012 at 05:37 PM
Jim, I have kids in two Tiverton schools. One of them is in Pocasset which was rebuilt using bond funds approved by the taxpayers. This is an outstanding small town educational facility that provides a high level of educational support and services to its students. The other schools that benefited from this taxpayer approved bond--Fort Barton and new Ranger--also operate at a high level. Students and infrastructure cannot be as easily separated as you would like. As far as money being funneled to the teachers, that's a tired old conservative claim. I'm not a fan of the NEA, but nobody, Joe included, has demonstrated that assertion in hard numbers. I am a fan of the individual teachers. The ones that I have dealt with are committed and highly qualified. The school committee is doing a good job of educating our kids--which is its mission and prime responsibility. I won't go into another long explanation of the importance of rainy day funds, suffice to say that if the TC would return the funds to the SC, where they rightly belong, the septic issue would be fixed.
Jim L March 08, 2012 at 05:40 PM
if the schools are cutting back as you say ms christ, then how does the $360,000.00 effect their budget, it is earmarked for the septic either way and the brick pointing money is there so why isn't it being spent
Tiverton Dad March 08, 2012 at 05:41 PM
Again, Jim, becuase the TCC supporters always seem to conveniently forget this, most of the increase in school funding is a result of a voter approved bond issue. You can ignore it if you want, but it's still out there.
Jim L March 08, 2012 at 05:43 PM
Seem's to me old n tired that both the town and the schools are trying to get by will as little a tax rate hike as possible and hopefully both sides might cut a little more, the best way out is still to get more business to come to this town
Tiverton Dad March 08, 2012 at 05:44 PM
A mind is a terrible thing to waste.
Tiverton Dad March 08, 2012 at 05:51 PM
Jim, come on. Enough already. I know you have an ax to grind with the schools for some reason, and that you continuously support the TCC/TC, but you're ignoring facts. The funds are NOT earmarked "either way." Right now they are sitting in the general fund doing absolutely nothing while Dave Nelson and his motley crew raise our taxes with lawyers fees and propose to raise them even more with a useless special town meeting or referendum. If you want the septic fixed, then you should be demanding that the TC/TCC return the funds to the SC, which actually HAS earmarked them for septic repairs. As for the brick pointing, as someone else pointed out, the funds are in the budget so presumably the work would be done in the next FY.
Jim L March 08, 2012 at 05:57 PM
I have yet to see where the school commited those funds to the septic, show me where that is? the town has put the money into a separate account till the feud stops or the courts rule
oldandtired March 08, 2012 at 06:01 PM
Hitting my head repeatedly against a wall. Please stop discussing this issue. You don't understand it.
Tiverton Dad March 08, 2012 at 06:31 PM
Yup. I give up too. You can bury him in facts and he'll stick his head out and repeat the same biased talking points that lead nowhere except in circles.
Just Another Taxpayer March 08, 2012 at 06:43 PM
I agree.
Jim L March 08, 2012 at 06:57 PM
so i notice no one showed me when this money was committed, your just going in circles around me, Ms Crist say's the school budget is bare bones because of this money, but the money is there. i think the council is trying to make sure tax money is well spent, not just doled out like it was for a few years, and since this council was elected the club has just beaten on them at every turn, you would think they never did anything good. Thats a good move to stop talking about it because i don't understand it? Perhaps you don't get it! that's helpfull, did you notice that over 4000 folks viewed the school meeting, a little less than voted for the ftr even tho the super and the school commitee took a stand against it.II have baised talking points but you refer to lord Nelson and Chicken joe, things like that, guess you think that makes you honest and not baised, REALLY? i don't refer to posters on here as chicken or lord as i addrees or talk to them, i ask question i get no answers, This would be a much better site if you would lose the Baised comments or Patch made you stop with your childest names when refering to people, it's only serves to belittle and make fun of people, people who ran for office while you sit on the side lines,Joe Sousa may not get it all right but he does more than anyone else on here, and this council has seen more growth in this town than we have had in years, why's that a problem?every story has two sides, not just yours.
Jim L March 08, 2012 at 07:00 PM
legal and moral grounds, glad the lawyer said that
Jim L March 08, 2012 at 07:42 PM
Just another taxpayer, this is how unbaised you are, your words chicken,lord, the brain.sir robert hot dog king,sunshine roger the doger. zealots sidekick, nevermind the bs you tried to imply ,that Lawton ave was paved as a favor to someone, for that alone anything you say should just be ignored.
Jim L March 08, 2012 at 08:12 PM
what shall we do with this old n tired
Joe Sousa. March 10, 2012 at 11:17 AM
Rhode Island lawmakers have revived a proposal to give the state's teachers binding arbitration rights that local leaders say would only add to their towns' budget problems. They need to hear a loud and definitive NO!!!!!
Just Another Taxpayer March 10, 2012 at 01:06 PM
Chicken Joe, I agree with you that Binding Arbitration is not a good thing for local communities. With that said, what does this have to do with the story? Just asking?

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