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NARRAGANSETT, R.I. — Narragansett School Superintendent Peter Cummings proposed a $36,256,122 budget for the fiscal year of 2023-24 – a 4.6% increase from last year’s budget — in an overview to the school committee last Wednesday evening.

If approved, taxpayers and the Town Council would only be asked to cover 1.39% of the increase, Cummings said.

“A lot of our budget will come from state aid,” he said.

The increase in the budget is mainly driven due to inflation and contractual obligations, Cummings said, pointing out that 54% of the budget is driven by salaries, while 27% will go toward benefits.

Cummings said the district’s priorities moving forward include new schedule plans at Narragansett High School to allow more electives for students and three-day rotations. It will also look to provide “continued learning recovery and intervention” in response to time lost at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic. This will involve measures such as intervention and “catch-up” programs and credit recovery at the high school level.

There will also be a focus in continued Career and Technical Education development — such as plumbing, education, agricultural science, and computer science.

The district is also planning revisions to its English and mathematic programs, which would involve allowing a greater access to advanced placement courses in high school.

In the realm of school safety measurements and secure learning environments, the district moving forward will be focusing on continued social and emotional learning programs, threat assessment training, school security enhancements and Alert, Lockdown, Inform, Counter and Evacuate (ALICE) drills.

According to school officials, the district’s enrollment for the 2022-23 year is 1,114 students. Anticipated district enrollment for 2023-24 is 1,083 students.

“We do think we’re going to continue to drop, unfortunately,” Cummings said. “Part of our challenge is that we are getting very small kindergarten classes.”

The superintendent said he believes this concern is driven by the challenge young families face in finding an affordable home to purchase in Narragansett.

“Try as we may to make (the district) as welcoming and as easy as we can for families … the prices of homes are very challenging,” he said. “We will be graduating a (kindergarten) class of about 120 this year and we’ll be taking in a kindergarten class of about 50.”

Fourteen resident students attend classes at career tech programs outside of Narragansett while 10 attend charter schools and 27 are home schooled.

“That is a number that has not gone down as much we had hoped after the pandemic,” Cummings said regarding the district’s homeschool numbers. “Part of the challenge for tracking that is having people come in and re-confirm every year that they’re still doing that. Right now, that’s the number that we have.”

The district enrolls 30 students from Jamestown and 85 students from outside of the district.

About 17% of the district’s student population should qualify for free/reduced lunch, Cummings said, adding that 11-12% of eligible families have filled out the paperwork, at this point.

The district is staffed with 239 people. There are 136.8 teachers (the decimal accounting for part-time teachers). The district has a total of 29 teachers’ assistants and 25 bus drivers, Cummings said.

In his presentation, Cummings noted that there would be a reduction in 2.6 teaching positions at Narragansett’s elementary level, should the budget be passed – a kindergarten position, a Grade 3 position and 1.6 special education positions.

“We had budgeted for four kindergartens this year, we only had enough students for three,” Cummings said. “(One kindergarten position) isn’t an actual cut to a person but that’s a cut to a position that we no longer need. We are shifting a Grade 3 to a Grade 4, so we want to keep those classes really small.”

Due to lagging student enrollment, Narragansett Pier School would lose a Grade 5 teacher, a special education teacher, a Physical Education teacher and a World Language teacher under Cummings’ proposed budget. The high school would also reduce a social studies role.

If approved, the school system would add a Grade 4 position, a computer science position at Narragansett Pier School, and three positions at the high school – a math, science, and physical education teacher under the proposal.

A capital reserve meeting to discuss expenditures is scheduled for Feb. 27. The first budget workshop will be held March 1 at 5:30 p.m.

“That first budget workshop is really around the school budgets, typically – then the second budget workshop will be on March 8 and that … is usually around the support services, maintenance, (and) technology,” Cummings said. “We typically hold a third date, if necessary. The last couple years we haven’t needed it but we have it there just in case we need it.”

Following the workshops, the school committee will vote on the proposed budget before Cummings presents it to the town council. Once the town council approves the final school budget, officials project it would be adopted in June.

(2) comments


Eliminating the essentially free day care for 3 and 4 yr olds except for the 20 low income and/or special education children will result in a savings $1M . The daycare teachers are paid at the same salary level as every other teacher .Top step is over $100k. 83 children have been consistently enrolled yet only 50 are entering K. The more affluent parents use the free daycare for their 3 and 4 yr olds then place their children in a private school in K-12.

Despite declining enrollment there is no cost savings - teachers are just moved to newly created positions.

In Sept 2023 there will be less than 900 resident children in the Narragansett school system .135 are out of district who attend the high school - another cost to the Narragansett taxpayers because the sending districts pay Narragansett $5000 less than we spend per student.

Instead of increasing the school budget each year it's time to offer the parents vouchers to be used at any school who will accept the student . Start with the high school. Give each parent a $28 k voucher and the Town will save millions . More importantly , you'd better believe a private high school will not graduate a student who can't perform at grade level and right now that is the case for 40% of the students.


The pre school program is the best thing that has happened to our young family living in Narragansett. Gracie (3) has had an endless amount of benefit from attending and we definitely plan on sending her to the K program along with our son who is currently age 1. I know a lot of our “affluent” friends in town also plan on the same? Maybe you have a house on ocean road thats empty in the winter while you’re in Naples. I think hearing more from local families that actually utilize this fantastic pre school program might be a good idea.

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