No tax hike in Warwick budget

By on May 15, 2019

The latest update to the Warwick School District 2019-20 general fund budget was presented at the May 7 committee of the whole meeting of the Warwick School Board.

Chief Financial Officer Nathan Wertsch provided the newest details on the budget and on debt service relating to the proposed athletic field house project.

Wertsch reported that the Warwick area taxpayers can rest easy. The proposed budget does not call for an increase in taxes.

Wertsch’s budget update listed total revenues at $75,420,207 and total expenses are $74,821,121. There a $629,000 transfer to the Capital Reserve in 2018-19.

“Keep it up,” said school board member Todd Rucci as Wertsch presented the budget update. With no tax increase required for the proposed final budget, the millage rate would remain at 16.3711.

In regard to debt service for the athletic field house, Wertsch reported that new bonds settle in May 2020, May 2022, May 2023, and May 2024. Each of the options wrap around existing net debt service.

Superintendent April Hershey noted that plans for the athletic field house have been under consideration for more than 10 years. It is hoped that once fall sports conclude, work can begin on the new field house, which will provide expanded facilities for sports teams and special events.

Warwick School Board is set to vote on a no tax-hike final budget May 21. Photo by Laura Knowles.

The expansion of the Warwick School District field house and athletic fields is expected to be paid for through bonds that would provide the cash needed for the work, which is projected to be done in the next two to three years.

The project has been designed by RLPS Architects, and would provide a dedicated field house with restrooms, locker rooms, coaching areas, staff rooms, and concession stands to serve athletes from both home and visiting teams. The facility would also serve the crowds that attend athletic events, including soccer, field hockey, track, and lacrosse.

The school board also got an update on the proposed Occupational Skills Class at Warwick High School by Juliet Ashton, Special Education Director. Ashton reported that the class would be transitioned to Warwick from IU 13. There would be approximately 10 to 12 special needs students in the program, which would be held as a daily half-day program for 11th and 12th grade students.

Ashton reported that the program is intended to provide educational tools for the students, helping them to plan their post-high school education, develop employment skills, and function in independent living situations.

There would be occupational skills education on a variety of topics, including money management, personal health, safety, developing social skills, operating household appliances, filling out applications, and interviewing for jobs.

The program is intended to offer special needs students and their parents the answers to the challenging question of “What can my child do after graduation?”

“This is awesome,” said Rucci, adding that the class will fill a gap in providing tools that will help students find fulfillment after high school.

Several local companies have been providing internship opportunities, with businesses like fast food restaurants and manufacturing companies partnering with Warwick to offer employment options to students with special needs. As Rucci noted, through the classes and employment opportunities, all students will be able to be a part of the Warwick community.

In other business, Dr. Hershey outlined several policy updates relating to Enrollment of Students, Family and Medical Leaves, Personal Necessity Leave, Uncompensated Leave and Uncompensated Leave for Child Rearing.

Laura Knowles is a freelance feature writer and regular contributor to the pages of the Record Express. She welcomes feedback and story tips at lknowles21@gmail.com. 

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