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Woonsocket schools gear up for special budget meetings

May 11, 2012

Woonsocket’s only high school needs significant repairs to address leaks and other problems.

Months after the normal deadline, the Woonsocket School Committee will get a look at a draft budget this evening.

The proposal aims to stem future deficits in a school department that has found itself $10 million in the red.

Woonsocket Superintendent Giovanna Donoyan, who is new to the district, says the budget is likely to be significantly higher than the $59 million Woonsocket currently spends on education.

“We can balance the budget on paper, but that’s not the reality,” Donoyan said. “The reality is that if you cut it beyond reality, you’re setting us up for another deficit.”

Donoyan has hired the accounting firm B & E Consulting to lay out exactly how much it will cost Woonsocket to provide all the basic services required by state and federal law.

“I want to know how much it costs to run this district,” Donoyan said. “Then we can go from there.”

B & E Consulting will present its draft budget to the school committee tonight. The committee has scheduled a special joint budget session with the city council on Saturday.

Woonsocket is asking state lawmakers to approve a supplemental property tax that would keep schools operating through the end of June. The measure is scheduled for a hearing in the House Finance Committee next week.

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