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UPDATE: Candidate Forum Question 3

3. As you know, more than 60 cents of each Warwick Property tax dollar goes to the School Department, yet neither the Mayor nor the city council that set the overall city budget and tax rate have a say on how schools spend the money. And, as we have learned, schools can overspend their budget requiring the city to pay the deficit. Do you think the system needs to be changed and how?

I think that the entire system should be looked at and monitored more closely. I would like the mayor and the city council to be involved in so much that they are aware of decisions that the school committee is making so that they can offer advice and help the school committee determine consequences that might occur as a result of decisions. I might go so far as to consider the city council or mayor to put on hold the proposed budget or even ratify the budget. My fear in this though is that the school committee or any government agency would look at this as an opportunity to not be completely diligent because another entity will override their decision making the original effort worthless.

I believe that we need a check and balances system and that the entire system has failed recently. I do not believe that lifetime health benefits are a good idea for the taxpayers of this city. If this is offered in an agreement, I would want to have someone step in and question that before 3 of the 5 school committee members put this into effect.

In the same idea, I want the school committee to be more closely involved in decisions that the mayor and city council make. All departments should be kept in the loop because one wrong financial decision could set a precedent that will have undesirable consequences. Because some employees have lifetime health benefits, others want it. It is too easy to say, “Look what they have, I want that”. I do not fault people for asking for something that they want. We must all be mindful that a decision that we make can result in difficulties for others that come after us. I believe this breakdown in communication has led us to our budget crisis now. We must fix it now to make a stronger school department and a stronger city.

Thank you, Patrick Maloney