Last night at the Warwick City council meeting, the BID on the table to sell the former Aldrich Jr. High school to the International Charter School was "held indefinitely" without any open, public discussion.
In the video below, you will hear Ward 1 Councilman Richard Corley, (whose wife is a Warwick school teacher) who also wasn't the bill sponsor, make the statement of "we're going to be busy in November" after the bill sponsor, Councilman Rix, asks to it hold off until November 20th. Corley then directly addresses council President Joseph Solomon and again, stresses that the sale of Aldrich to ICS BID proposal be held until the purchase and sales agreement amendments can be worked out between the two parties.
--Councilman Solomon responds: "sure that's fine."
-Councilman Rix : "that would be acceptable, thank you." -Corley then says, "can I have a motion to hold?"
Councilwoman Travis responds: "I make a motion to hold. Is it going to be November 20th? It's not going to be Nov. 20th, just to be held?"
-Corley: "it's just going be held."
-Travis: "It's just going to be held?"
Councilman Gallucci seconds.
Councilman Ladouceur to Corley: "So the motion essentially is to hold indefinitely, is that correct?"
What is the city council's bottom line agenda? They shot this all down last night with no explanation. "Just say no" isn't the answer. Was this a decision to appease the Warwick Teacher's Union and city councilman's wives that are teachers? WTU President, Darlene Netcoh was also present last night inside the city council chambers. The only time she's there is when she either wants something or there's competition knocking on her door... as there should be!
Both ICS/City Planning parties were in the city council chambers, which included Representative/attorney Joseph Shekarchi who is legally representing the Charter school developers, as well as the City's Planning Director, William DePasquale and ICS representatives. What a rude, disrespectful and unprofessional way to treat those that took the time out of their schedules to be at the city council after all of the time and effort was taken to put forth the Aldrich/ICS proposal. Also what a rotten, disrespectful way to treat the public.
In the past, when any other development proposal has been before the city council, (like a Cumberland Farms for example), there has been full, open, thorough, questioning by the city council as well as questions from the public. Even when anything is being held, the city council opens the floor to questions and discussion, along with presentations and design proposals being presented to the city council.
This all didn't happen last night.
Everything appeared to be swept aside by a city councilman (whose wife is a Warwick school teacher), along with other members of the city council, with a great performance of passive detachment to what was in front of them. Isn't this a politically motivated, major conflict of interest?
Very bad move, very bad decision, if not worse than the decision to not utilize a $750,660 grant obtained by the PATH (Nathanael Greene/Potowomut Academy of Technology and Humanities ) to open a new Charter School in Potowomut back in 2009. What a beautiful opportunity that was to give the Potowomut community a new Charter school for their children. Instead, the neighborhood got stuck with another unnecessary fire station, and the City still isn't breaking even on the deal.
More about the deal to sell Aldrich to ICS:
What else possibly lead to the decision to hold the ICS/Aldrich deal indefinitely (other than biased, political motivation) based off of side bar conversations with a couple of other city councilmen:
Go back to the negotiating table with Joseph Shekarchi, who is representing the Charter School developers, and make this counter offer:
Who's truly fighting for the kids and the TAXPAYERS of our city?
The WTU has a monopoly on the education system in Warwick and it's why they behave the way they do. The same thing happened about 10 years ago when the WTU went 4 years with no contract, and they were just as vicious then as they are now. At that time, members of the School Committee, along with parents and even other teachers, fought back and got rid of then WTU President. The WTU voted in another President and a month later, long disputed contract negotiations came to a close, and a deal was struck.
History is once again repeating itself and the economic health of the City is considerably worse.
The Warwick School Committee should be doing everything in their power to reach out to parents via PTO's or Neighborhood Association meetings, or arrange parent meetings at a designated time and place to educate them all on what's on the negotiating table.
Maybe the School Admin. could have a series of meetings with parents and personally invite them to their Gorton admin building for group question and answer sessions? Parents only, (no teachers). Offer parents the opportunity to be heard, and educate the parents on the "hows" and "whys" of current teacher contract negotiations. Allow parents to ask questions and share their concerns in a non-threatening environment.
The City should be embracing this charter school investment opportunity with wide open arms! The City desperately needs CHOICE to survive!
Borrow-tax-spend, repeat = catastrophic, fiscal failure! It's already happening!
Parents! Contact your city council member and the Mayor and demand the Aldrich/ICS charter school proposal be scheduled and vetted before the city council and the public! Do it for... THE CHILDREN!