by the Associated Press and WPRO News
WARWICK, R.I. (AP) – A Rhode Island school district has cut its athletic programs as well as other after-school activities in an effort to balance its budget.
The cuts were approved Tuesday night when the Warwick School Committee passed a $174 million budget.
David Testa, a school committee member, called the cuts “devastating” and said an effort has to be made to restore funding for the programs.
Ella Centracchio, who will be a junior at the city’s Pilgrim High School next fall, called the cuts “jarring.”
Warwick Superintendent Philip Thornton in a statement called the cuts “difficult” but pointed out that they included textbooks, teacher assistants and in other areas and come after closing buildings and reducing staff for years.
Students gathered at City Hall on Wednesday to protest the cuts. Lilly Brown, a Pilgrim High School student who plays soccer and softball, told WPRO that she was upset with the cuts. “Sports has a lot to do with my high school career, and to have them taken away from me is not okay, which is why I’ve been showing up to all of these protests trying to get my sports back. Not just for me but for my teammates as well.”
Warwick Mayor Joseph Solomon told WPRO’s Tara Granhan that sports programs will happen one way or another. ” The students of this city can be assured, that both the city council and the mayor stand steadfast in making sure that the after school sports and programs will be in place for them in September. I was very uncomfortable with the tears drawn from many of the young citizens of our society last night. I don’t appreciate that.”
School Committee Chair Karen Bachus also spoke with Granahan Wednesday, saying that the situation was “awful. This is the last thing we wanted to do.”
Listen to “Karen Bachus Warwick School Committee Chairperson” on Spreaker.