‘Fund our future’: Students rally at Warwick City Hall in support of sports programs

 

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WARWICK, R.I. (WLNE) – Warwick students rallied at City Hall Wednesday morning after the school committee made millions of dollars in cuts in their budget Tuesday night, including sports and other after-school activities. 

Students stormed City Hall Wednesday to urge Mayor Joseph Solomon to help save their sports.

Several students and a teacher were invited inside the office to speak with him. 

“He told us that he was on our side completely from the start and that we’re getting our sports and after-school programs back,” said Pilgrim High School Junior Lily Brown.

Mayor Solomon told media after the meeting that he was caught off guard by the school committee’s decision, saying he didn’t know until after that they were making cuts.

As it currently stands, there will be no sports at any school in the district come this Fall, after the school committee approved their $174 million budget by making massive cuts, including sports, clubs, teacher assistants, and textbooks. 

The Mayor said he’s committed to using out-of-the-box methods like city resources and funds to address the deficit. Parents just want both sides to sit down and agree.

“There’s never extra money, there are the necessary funds to keep important programs in place,” said Mayor Solomon.

Parents say they just want both sides to sit down and come up with an agreement.

“Not dealing with mediation, not dealing with lawyers and time, cause we don’t have that. June 30th is when the budget has to be balanced,” said parent and Pilgrim High coach Tom Flanders.

Superintendent of Warwick Schools, Philip Thornton, said in a statement that after a decade of nearly level funding of the school district operating budget by the city, the committee cut 7.7 million dollars to achieve a balanced budget and comply with State law.

“Warwick Schools are at a crossroads,” said Thornton. “More funding is needed for education in the city of Warwick”.

©WLNE-TV / ABC6 2019