Consolidation of elementary schools, hot button topic in Warwick

By: Ana Bottary

WARWICK, R.I. – Warwick School Committee members may soon be casting a vote Tuesday on a hot button issue: the consolidation of elementary schools.

"I think this district has done such a poor job with consolidating secondary schools that it should not be consolidating elementary schools at this point," said Darlene Netcoh, President of the Warwick Teachers Union.

A previous round of consolidations closed Aldrich and Gorton Junior High Schools and it also turned Warwick Vets into a middle school.

"Although they made the gyms shiny and our auditoriums have a new car smell as our superintendent likes to say the rest of the physical plan is not contusive to education," said Darlene Netcoh.

Under the proposed plan Holden and Wickes elementary schools would close at the end of the school year and John Brown Francis Elementary would be converted into an early-childhood center, taking in preschoolers who are currently attending the Drum Rock early childhood center.

"I’ve asked them to do one of two things, either put off the entire consolidation process for a year, so we can make sure everything is done appropriately and if they’re not willing to do that to put off the implementation for a year," said Mayor Scott Avedisian.

There are currently 16 elementary schools in Warwick.

"The vast majority of people in the city understand that something needs to change and that we have too many buildings. It doesn’t make sense to continue to use buildings that are not at capacity," said Mayor Scott Avedisian.

The elementary school consolidation meeting will begin at Pilgrim High School.

ABC6 News will be covering the meeting and have the latest at 11 p.m.

©WLNE-TV / ABC6 2016