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Woonsocket considers state police investigation

March 28, 2012

Woonsocket’s school committee may ask for a state police investigation into overspending in the school department. The committee is scheduled to discuss and possibly vote on a request tonight, calling for state police to look into the actions of top school administrators and whether they misled the school committee about the district’s finances.

Members of the school committee say they were taken by surprise when they learned that the district was running a significant deficit this year. School leaders are now projecting $10 million in cost over-runs between this year and next year.

Former Woonsocket Superintendent Robert Gerardi has so far declined to comment on the district’s financial troubles. He left the district at the end of the last academic year to take a similar post in Massachusetts.

Some members of the school committee are also questioning the contract of a school finance officer who worked under Gerardi and apparently could not be fired. The school committee claims it had no knowledge of certain provisions in the contract, and the request to state police also asks for an investigation into whether the contract was illegally modified without the board’s knowledge or consent.

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