WOONSOCKET â€“ The school committee voted to rehire 350 teachers for the coming school year Thursday, but will wait until May 11 to begin consideration of the budget covering Fiscal 2013.
School Committee Chairwoman Anita McGuire-Forcier said the panel's 4-0 vote to rehire teachers who were given notices of possible layoff for the coming school year was only the first of what are likely to be many committee votes on the budget in the coming weeks. School Committeewoman Eleanor Nadeau did not attend due to illness, Forcier said.
The school department had issued notices to all of its 600-member teaching staff, including members such as the 350 rehired Thursday, who would be needed to staff classes regardless of any significant budget reductions.
â€śThere will be a lot of special meetings this month,â€ť Forcier said.
School Superintendent Giovanna Donoyan submitted information on the status of the department's current budget during the meeting in the Hamlet Middle School but was still working on the final draft of the 2013 budget, Forcier said.
Donoyan, who has been working on the figures with the help of the finance staff of the Rhode Island Department of Education, retired school business manager Dina Dutremble and representatives of the Bacon & Edge auditing firm, indicated the draft budget will be ready for school committee consideration on May 11, Forcier said.
â€śWe were promised it,â€ť she said, noting that she now plans to set up a meeting with the City Council to review the proposed budget prior to a School Committee vote on the package.
The meeting could be held either Friday, May 11 or Saturday, May 12, depending on the schedules of City Council members, Forcier said.
The committee took no action on the elementary school restructuring options submitted by Donoyan at its last meeting but Forcier said it appears the committee may be facing a potential budget increase equal to the department's $10 million shortfall over the past two years.
The school department was given a $59 million budget for 2011-12 but is now expected to have overspent that sum by $7.3 million, a deficit compounding last year's school deficit of $2.7 million.
Forcier said the School Committee will not be able to begin a review of potential cost-saving steps until it has a complete budget proposal.
â€śWe are going to go over every line item in the budget before we approve it,â€ť she said.