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School Committee Talks Pell School, Truancy and Going Green

The Newport School Committee met on Tuesday for its regularly scheduled meeting.

The Newport School Committee met at the on Tuesday night to discuss several ongoing projects, including and the

The committee also voted to suspend a policy that would require a subcommittee to be created to n

Brick add alternate approved

The school committee unanimously voted to approve the recommendation from the Pell Building Committee to accept additional brick masonry as an add alternate for the Pell Elementary School.

The committee met several times and did a complete analysis of other alternates, including CMU block, but was recommended by the construction company and Farrar & Associates to use brick.

Jim Farrar, the owner’s representative on the project, said brick would make sense with the project’s current budget.

RHS Goes Green

Superintendent John Ambrogi updated the committee on efforts from Rogers High School to go green by installing rain gardens around the campus and removing large areas of asphalt from the grounds.

“It is really interesting how this has energized so many people in the community,” he said.

Director of Public Services Bill Riccio has offered the city’s help with the project, Ambrogi added.

“It’s exciting to me, it could be so much nicer but there’s asphalt everywhere,” Ambrogi said.

School Committee Chairman Patrick Kelley said he would like to move the project along so some progress would be made by the end of this year.

The committee passed a motion to endorse the Go Green initiative and to not exceed $10,000 to pay for a backhoe rental and materials to plant this year. 

“It’s great to see people coming forward from the community willing to help. It’s going to be a good practical experience for the young people and it will be something everyone will benefit from,” school committee member Sandra J. Flowers said.

Truancy still an issue in Newport schools

Ambrogi said he was “sorely disappointed” in this year’s truancy initiative combining school department staff with staff from Child & Family.

“We just didn’t have parents who wanted to engage in the process,” he said.

Student attendance facilitator Eddie Merritt said he has compiled 38 petitions to send to the courts to start initial meetings with families of truant students needed to be seen by a parole officer.

He said that, unfortunately, many families will not be able to be seen because the courts will be shutting down on May 21 because they are overloaded, but at the very least families will be notified for the first date in September to review truancy issues.

School officials will begin “intense intervention” when students miss eight percent of the total school days to avoid reaching the ten percent truancy mark.

Pell School update

School committee member Rebecca Bolan said there is still an issue with the design of the kitchen of the Pell Elementary School.

“The kitchen has been a problem since the beginning and it has come down to the wire,” she said. “I would like to see the architect really take the brunt of this and the school district not have to pay for it.”

The issue with the kitchen, she said, is the narrow hallway, which is left with only 10.8 working inches when the door is open.

When the freezer door is open, there is 11.8 inches of space, and while all tables in the kitchen are mobile, certainly safe risks are posed, Thomas Phelan said. Phelan said movable tables are not the solution, and suggested a special meeting be called to vote on the issue.

“The architect has made a humongous mistake on this,” he said. “The person who did this design failed it by the location of the freezer. . .It can’t work. It won’t work.”

The kitchen will need to be reconfigured to maximize work space as well as incorporate room to install an ice maker. 

Jack May 10, 2012 at 12:56 AM
Phelan is right, if the architect had correctly designed the kitchen all would be fine but they made the mistake and should be the ones to fix it at NO charge to the city, if the error was made by the city then a fee could be charged

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