No meetings set between city, schools as deadline nears tonight

Warwick Beacon ·

No meetings have been scheduled yet between the city and the Warwick School Committee to continue negotiations towards resolving the nearly $5 million budget deficit in the schools, and a deadline is set for later today that, if no progress is made, will result in the schools re-filing a lawsuit against the city.

City Council President Steve Merolla said on Monday that he and School Committee Chairwoman Karen Bachus had spoken and had two potential meeting dates “floating around” but that nothing had been officially set yet.

A motion was passed by the school committee during their executive session meeting last week that dropped the pending lawsuit filed by the last iteration of the school committee shortly before Christmas. However, that decision hinged on the city scheduling two meetings with the committee and picking a mediator to figure out how the budgetary dispute could be solved.

The motion stated that if no meetings were scheduled by the time the school committee meets tonight at 7 p.m., they would authorize their legal counsel to re-file the lawsuit, which seeks an additional infusion of money from the city to the tune of about $4.9 million.

The motion also states the City Council must put the schools on the docket for their Feb. 25 meeting to present their case to release over $6 million in bond funding to initiate capital projects set to commence this summer and the summer of 2020, but there was no update on that at this time.

Merolla said that a mediator would be discussed at the meetings, but again that nothing had been firmly scheduled at the time of the call late Monday afternoon. Bachus did not return a phone message requesting comment.