Letter: Letter writer’s Tiverton school ‘facts’ are just not facts

Posted 6/2/21

To the editor:

I read Marguerite Rizzi’s letter in the Sakonnet Times print edition of May 27, and feel compelled to respond to inaccuracies included that could negatively influence …

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Letter: Letter writer’s Tiverton school ‘facts’ are just not facts

Posted

To the editor:

I read Marguerite Rizzi’s letter in the Sakonnet Times print edition of May 27, and feel compelled to respond to inaccuracies included that could negatively influence taxpayers’ perception of the Tiverton School District. 

The first issue is with her estimate that our student population is 1,200 children. While Tiverton’s school population has declined, much like many districts in our area, Tiverton proudly served 1,751 students in the FY20 school year. Our per pupil costs during that time were nowhere near Ms. Rizzi’s $29,000 calculation, but rather $19,782. While I concur that this is also high, it is in line with other districts. I also expect that the FY21 numbers, when released, will be lower as the result of the layoffs and all-around expense reductions that were enacted when our schools were level funded this past year.

As the retired superintendent of the Stoughton Mass., school district, Ms. Rizzi must understand that state aid for education in Massachusetts, where Stoughton is located, enjoys a significantly higher portion of education funding than districts in Rhode Island. A quick Google lookup tells me that Stoughton’s budget, which for FY22 will stand at $52 million for approximately 3,600 students, receives 33%, or $17.2 million of its funding from state education aid.

Tiverton, at $6.9 million, stands to receive only 21% of its funding from state education aid. Tiverton and Stoughton are two very different communities, in two different states, living with two differences in the approach to education funding. To try to compare them side-by-side is simply unfair.

Ms. Rizzi stated in her letter that she believes in paying taxes and providing the best opportunities possible for students, as well as strong community services. Indeed, she has chosen to call Tiverton home. I invite her to join us by getting involved, and become one of many who work tirelessly for the betterment of all who call our beautiful seaside town home.

Diane Farnworth

Vice Chair, Tiverton School Committee

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