I have a simple question that I just cannot seem to get an answer for.

The South Kingstown School Committee is the originator of a complaint against the current superintendent on behalf of the union, NEARI. The complaint stems from the usual and customary “layoff” procedure that occurs annually in response to the timing of the budget process. Layoff notices of potential for dismissal must be sent out because the final budget is never secure prior to the time requirements for layoff notices to be issued. Nothing new here.

How faculty are “called back” after the budget is determined is a seniority process that the superintendent has no control over. Senior faculty will be returned to employment. Junior faculty will be terminated as needed. The school committee determined that process in an unprecedented power grab when voting on a seniority placement policy without following usual meeting procedure. Water under the bridge for now.

There is a grievance process in place for the union and faculty if they feel their contract has been violated. If a grievance is filed, the union must investigate at the union’s expense. The Town of South Kingstown has no place in that process.

If a grievance is filed, NEARI bears the expense — not programs and children. If a grievance is filed, faculty and administrators retain their role and work until guilt or innocence is determined. If a grievance is valid, then NEARI and the guilty party work out a settlement.

Taxpayers have no role in this at all.

As a result of the actions of the school committee, the taxpayers of South Kingstown are now paying an interim superintendent at $800 per day, plus travel and expense reimbursements, we are paying the former superintendent until her contract expires since placing her on “administrative leave,” and we are paying an outside attorney to conduct an “investigation.” These actions are estimated to rise north of $150,000. More than enough to fund programmatic improvements or the intramural sports at the middle school.

My simple question is when did the Town of South Kingstown begin to represent NEARI and why are we paying for a union grievance? There is no positive outcome from these actions for the programs, the children, or the town.

The only party that benefits from this action is NEARI.

Joslin B. Leasca


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