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Unable to Match Grant, Cranston Forced to Decline All-Day K Money

Hopes for the start of all-day kindergarten in Cranston next year have dimmed.

Any excitement for a recent Rhode Island Department of Education $100,000 grant to start all-day kindergarten in Cranston has fizzled out.

The school district will have to decline the grant because the district is unable to put up matching funds — a stipulation that must be met for the grant.

That's what came out of what ended up being a brief and discouraging School Committee meeting last night that would have stung more if not for the fact Cranston Public Schools' have grown accustomed to being under constant fiscal constraint. 

Even with additional state aid, School Committee members Thursday night said there wouldn't be enough money to start with the four classrooms of all-day kindergarten, nor does the district have the resources to maintain the program.

School Committee member Stephanie Culhane said some people feel short changed by RIDE and the "funding was a phase in. [It can't] be done at this time.

"We support all-day K but without funds and commitment by those that hold the money, it can't be done," Culhane said. "It's very sad for our kids."

Cranston got the most money out of the four districts getting funding. The others were Exeter-West Greenwich, getting $45,000; Glocester, getting $33,000; and Woonsocket, which will receive $72,928.

The money was made available through the Full-Day Kindergarten Accessibility Act, a law passed in 2012 by the state legislature.

Elizabeth Roy January 17, 2014 at 08:50 AM
Of course! But let's pay Chief Palombo to stay home on vacation while he is being investigated for thug behavior! Screw the children!
Barbara January 17, 2014 at 09:13 AM
Why don't you write some more tickets in Edgewood or hike our taxes up again. Maybe then we can reach it. What a joke!
Elizabeth Roy January 17, 2014 at 09:26 AM
I agree! Our children are continually losing out educationally for these "do nothing" and thug city employees can have jobs!! Music programs in middle schools, all-day kindergarten, what else are going to be taken away to accommodate these jerks!
Chris12 January 17, 2014 at 09:37 AM
"There are no free lunches..." Many think that grant $$$ is free. Its start-up money. Who pays to keep these programs going after the initial start-up?? Grant money is short term feel good money. Long term money = our TAX BILLS
Elizabeth Roy January 17, 2014 at 09:57 AM
Absolutely and obviously. However, I am tired of the children of this city losing out for fat cats.
Bob January 17, 2014 at 10:58 AM
Bravo Elizabeth and don't forget the other CPD Captain who WJAR 10 exposed recently who has been out on paid leave for 2 years with benefits at 98k a year......lets not stop here...this is what happens when you have pensions costs out the ying yang...retires getting paid holidays and uniform cleaning costs etc...all one big freakin stink hole...thank your elected leaders and union goon leadership and past and present Administrations in the unions back pocket....thank them next time you see them...
Elizabeth Roy January 17, 2014 at 11:10 AM
Oh trust me Bob, I will. I am one of those pain in the neck people who email the goons in Washington on a regular basis to let them know that what they have is totally on our dime and it is a sin to deny the citizens what is rightfully theirs so they can have!
Miguel January 17, 2014 at 11:59 AM
We are worried about investigating ticket scams and controversial banners in the high school yet our city can't even afford to match up a grant to FINALLY get all day kindergarten to Cranston, while mosty of the rest of the state has it.. INCLUDING Providence. People should be pissed. I suggest residents look up their wards at the RI Secretary of State Voter Info Center https://sos.ri.gov/vic/ Then e-mail their councilperson http://www.cranstonri.com/generalpage.php?page=118 And school committee representative http://www.cranstonri.com/contact.php?department=38 This is outrageous to say the least.
Chris12 January 17, 2014 at 12:18 PM
Miguel - It is more than outrageous. Our cities and towns have more than enough money to provide quality education for our children. It is because of gross mismanagement , incompetent civic leaders, and apathy on the part of the taxpayers that our communities are crumpling. We have an election in Nov. VOTE THEM ALL OUT.
Elizabeth Roy January 17, 2014 at 12:30 PM
Absolutely Chris12! We, the taxpayers, need to send a very strong message to these goons!
Chris Paplauskas January 17, 2014 at 01:04 PM
What a shame, the kids really lose out. As a parent of one child in kindergarten and one in pre-school I know first hand how important all day K is to developing socially and educationally. There have been a lot of missed opportunities over the years to "find" the money to not only fund all day K but fund some music and sports programs. Just the savings alone in contracting out the busing of students would of been enough to fund all day K.
Dave Park January 17, 2014 at 02:59 PM
If only kids could vote democrat, things might be different.
Janice Ruggieri January 17, 2014 at 04:08 PM
There was no matching funds for the grant...the only money from the grant was for start up costs..it was up to the district to find a sustainable funding source to continue the program. We wrote our grant with the intent of using the fair funding formula funds for the incoming students which would have more than covered the costs of full day K. What RIDE did not tell us was that they were not going to give us the full funding for each student; rather they were going to be phasing it in over 5 years. If this was the case they should not have accepted our grant application. They left us holding the bag for the remaining funds. And to Mr. Paplauskas; if we had privatized busing this year we would have had to have come up with close to 3/4 of a million dollars in this budget to cover the pension and unused benefits and vacation time so your comment is not accurate. We are going to continue to work on all day K but we could not take the grant without the available funds...it would be fiscally irresponsible.
Mark Schieldrop (Editor) January 17, 2014 at 04:10 PM
Thanks for providing the insight and extra detail, Janice.
Chris Paplauskas January 17, 2014 at 04:31 PM
Janice, I want to say thank you to you and your colleagues on the school Committee for all of your hard work on trying to get full day K going. I can tell you that everyone is frustrated with the lack of funds and it not working out this year. Hopefully something can be done somewhere in the budget to put the school dept on a better footing to provide full day K soon. When I made my comment about the buses I was thinking about the long run expenses and all the costs of replacing 14 year old buses. Hopefully full day K will happen sooner than later.
I_Like_EG January 18, 2014 at 06:22 AM
Good job Liz I agree. Paplauskas why the backpedalling with Janice? U made valid comments don't back down! It's like u are kissing her a$$ it's America speak your mind. It's rotten all the wasteful spending we have at city hall yet we can't give the kids the best possible education system! The school committee is only able to do so much with the $ allocated to them by city hall so really it's on city hall to find the $$. We have some of the highest taxes in the state, plenty of commercialization going on yet no money for kindergarten. I believe all day kindergarten has multiple benefits to the kids parents and community. Parents get to work or be productive without expending even more money on child are expense (which are so high) while kids are being better prepared for first grade and beyond. We spend more on prisoners than on our students!
I_Like_EG January 18, 2014 at 06:29 AM
Hey Dave if kids could vote democrat we would pay more taxes to go to the unions and pad the pockets in city hall! Also there would be more rich and more poor taking handouts and no middle class (p.s. There is no more middle class). I like Chris 12's idea to vote everyone out! That's my plan to at least try to vote them out 2 votes count.
Elizabeth Roy January 18, 2014 at 08:18 AM
So true about the prisoners.....but lest we forget, felons have more rights than their victims and certainly more than the rest of us!!
Miguel January 18, 2014 at 12:10 PM
I'd be interested in seeing what occurs in the other 3 communities, particularly cash-strapped Woonsocket. The fact is that $100,000 dollars is much better than the $0 which was available before RIDE for start-up costs of full-day K. Yet despite that crutch, the City cannot scrap up enough to get a program running? How have 27 other districts managed to offer some form of full-day K, yet RI's soon-to-be second largest city cannot manage to do the same? It sounds to me like the School Comm. thought someone else would foot the bill for something Cranston should have had in-place 10-15 years ago. Cranston's schools are quickly falling further and further behind in prestige and quality it seems.
mcam January 19, 2014 at 09:46 AM
Do you remember when Cranston was considered one of the best School Systems in the state and people moved here because of it?? Well that ship has sailed!!! I guess it is time to move and sell my house before it loses more value. If you do not have a strong School System, then your property values go down and no one wants to move here. How sad, Cranston is where my parents raised their kids and if they ever saw it now they would be disgusted!!!
Chris12 January 19, 2014 at 10:59 AM
macam- WHY is the Cranston school system deteriorating? Why are there lotteries and waiting lists to get into Charter/Private schools across the county. WHY is the whole public school system deteriorating? We have an election in November.
Elizabeth Roy January 19, 2014 at 11:14 AM
Our school system has definitely seriously declined. Between that issue and the abandoned (greedy bank owned) houses, burnt houses, no wonder our property values have declined!

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