Will Third Grade Move Up Next Year? Probably But Not Absolutely
Plans for the move are in the works, but school officials refuse to say it's a definite, pending final budget numbers.
For parents of East Greenwich second graders, one important piece of information they are looking for these days is whether or not their child will be attending a different school next fall.
The answer is probably, but school officials will offer no guarantees.
The School Committee decided last year to move the third grade classes from Meadowbrook and Frenchtown to Hanaford and Eldredge but budget constraints caused them to postpone enactment. The move had been recommendation of a reconfiguration study of the elementary schools prompted by the move of the sixth grade from Hanaford and Eldredge to Cole Middle School.
One factor in the plan's favor this year is the cost looks to be substantially lower. Last year, the district would have had to spend as much as $125,000 to move the third grade, mainly because of costs associated with staffing for special education students.
This year, however, the student population is different and there are not the same special education needs. According to administration official Mary Ann Crawford, the move would only cost $20,000, to cover the cost of a part-time physical education teacher.
But the substantial decrease does not make it a slam dunk, according to school officials.
"There are no red flags yet, but we're not through the budget process," said School Committee Chair David Green Tuesday. He said while moving the third grade is high-priority, "there isn't a low-priority item in the budget."
The School Committee is reviewing the budget now, meeting in a series of workshops with the various "budget owners." It must submit a budget to the Town Council in March. The Council, in turn, must approve a budget in May to be voted on at the Financial Town Meeting in June.
Chairman Green said he anticipated the Town Council would want additional cuts in school spending which is why he couldn't say with certainty that moving third graders would take place.