Survey Question #1 Responses – School Committee save $500k per year?

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 “The city could save half a million dollars.” We heard this first from Harry Winthrop at an ALN forum in April. Now we have Naomi Neville’s comments in the Newport Daily News’ Guest View column of 5/28/13 making a clear case for combining School Committee and city resources in managing finances and other administrative services for the schools. Do you think this would this be a good idea?
06/03/2013 7581023 [Yes]
It is an administrative savings that is long overdue.
06/05/2013 7607639 [Yes]
Great idea, but it might not result in actual tax savings. The savings would end up on the school side and might not count toward maintenance of effort. Regardless, it is money which could be put toward early education programs.
06/05/2013 7607877 [Maybe]
It is worthy of examination. With the proper controls, checks and balances in place, the schools Administrator should not have to worry that educational funds would be siphoned off elsewhere. There is also the concern that the schools would be nickel and dimed to death by city government and handicap professional educators from being truly innovative.
06/05/2013 7607915 [Yes]
Sadly too many vested local interests benefit from our legendary municipal inefficiencies.
06/06/2013 7610554 [Maybe]
sounds good, although I am not sure what the downside would be
06/06/2013 7610727 [No]
If the school committee where appointed maybe. This only transfers money from one side to the other and does not save money. Better to share with Middletown. That would be a real savings. City and Schools are very different operations. I know because I did this for a living.
06/06/2013 7610787 [Maybe]
need to read more
06/06/2013 7610759 [Maybe]
Not that familiar with the government of Newport, but, if there is duplication within the two groups, let’s get rid of duplication or similar duties.
06/06/2013 7610922 [Maybe]
More study and discussion needed.
06/06/2013 7610965 [Yes]
The School Committee is dysfunctional. The city should take over essential non-educational operations.
06/06/2013 7611755 [Yes]
Reduce duplicate Admin
06/06/2013 7611821 [Yes]
The school committee has not used good financial procedures. The city has offered — and should — take over managing school finances. The added benefit would be to improve trust between the council and school committee.
06/06/2013 7612591 [Yes]
a good idea, yes. however with the proviso that, if this combination is less successful than the current separate policy, then a return to a new and improved version of the then former method.
06/06/2013 7612981 [Yes]
The $500,000 savings alluded to would be realized by the School Department and will free up money for education. The cost of delivering those services would be transferred to the city; that cost has not been determined. The eventual savings are likely to be in the $200,000 range.
06/06/2013 7613933 [Maybe]
I am not sure I understand how this works currently, so I would like to see a side by side comparison of the two operating models. It is important to use our resources wisely, and avoid duplicating efforts — but we also need to make sure decisions about Education aren’t overly influenced by external and/or irrelevant factors.
06/06/2013 7616744 [Maybe]
Depending on how it’s implemented, this one could go either way…
06/06/2013 7623705 [Maybe]
Not sure – I can’t believe we can’t get a better handle on this.
06/06/2013 7623827 [Yes]
They are about 15 years late
06/06/2013 7631741 [Yes]
All Aquidneck Island schools should be administered together
06/07/2013 7636748 [Yes]
In a shrinking school district, it would make sense for the school department and city to share some services.
06/07/2013 7640047 [Yes]
We should also combine districts on the island. Having 3 school administrations on this size island is so wasteful and ridiculous.
06/07/2013 7640100 [Yes]
I generally agree, but have some concerns about the City being able to deal effectively with school personnel matters. I fear the City’s HR staff may not have the background and experience needed to address personnel matters concerning educators.
06/07/2013 7648198 [Maybe]
i don’t believe there would be any savings.
06/08/2013 7650665 [Maybe]
Devil in the details. Sometimes one gets less with less.
06/08/2013 7652394 [Maybe]
This is the biggest no-brainer I’ve seen in a long time — unless there is something we don’t know.
06/09/2013 7656513 [No]
Two different missions. Don’t compromise both.
06/09/2013 7657348 [Yes]
Should have been done a long time ago.
06/09/2013 7657424 [Maybe]
Not enough facts to give a yes or no.
06/09/2013 7657856 [Maybe]
There are pros and cons to the centralization of any process. In the case of the schools, relieving educators of non-education-related tasks would (presumably) free them to elevate the educational services to be delivered. On the other hand, what resources are available from the School Committee? None, as far as day-to-day administration is concerned. And city government does not seem as administratively gifted as one would hope at the moment, so transferring tasks to the city is of questionable value.
06/09/2013 7659436 [No]
In the 40+ years I’ve followed Newport administration and politics, the one constant has been the antipathy of the City administration toward the school department and, more generally, toward education. Administrative functions for the schools are quite specialized and quite different from the city’s functions. It would make far more sense to pursue regional initiatives and consolidation with other school districts for these functions.
06/10/2013 7662560 [Yes]
I agree that some combining would be a good thing, but have reservations about the hiring of teaching staff and who would be doing that
06/10/2013 7663104 [Maybe]
not if it means more job losses for the school department. They’re already short-handed.
06/10/2013 7664980 [Maybe]
I have not read Naomi Neville’s piece in the NDN. I would need more data to make an informed decision. Intuitively, it seems that savings could be realized.
06/10/2013 7667750 [Yes]
Every successful business combines resources and trims budgets for fiscal health, why should three very small towns be separate?


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10 Questions – School Committee Questionnaire

2012 Newport, Rhode Island

School Committee Questionnaire

(October 8, 2012)  Each election year, in its continuing efforts to inform residents of Newport about critical issues impacting our city, ALN Board Members meet and develop a list of questions on what they feel are the most important issues our community is facing. This year our subscribers and members were asked to also submit ideas for the questions. The resulting list of ten questions is posted on our website with responses from the candidates for City Council. In a similar way, questions were developed for School Committee candidates and their responses too are being posted to the ALN website.

ALN hopes that publishing the questionnaires and responses will help our community be more informed at election time.

On October 18, ALN will sponsor a public forum for City Council candidates at 6:30 in City Council chambers. Each candidate for a contested seat will be given the opportunity to make introductory remarks and answer questions prepared for the occasion. We believe seeing the candidates “in action” is important to the voting public.

Please subscribe to our free eNewsletter and make a donation ($10 or more) so that we can continue to this kind of service to the citizens of Newport.

We appreciate your support and look forward to seeing you at the Forum and hearing your comments and feedback to the online questions and candidate answers on our website.

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