Weingarten said part of the reason for her visit was to highlight the work that Woonsocket's Superintendent of Schools Giovanna Donoyan and Woonsocket Teachers Guild President Jeff Partington have been doing to "work together as much as they can, even in a bad budget, to make sure that kids get a decent education."
Woonsocket Teacher Guild President Jeff Partington, who organized the event, also welcomed Woonsocket Superintendent of Schools Giovanna Donoyan to the podium while acknowledging their ongoing work to cope with the department's funding cuts and recent layoff action.
pointed to the Teachers Guild
and the Woonsocket School Department's
"long history of working together to do what is in the best interest of all students in Woonsocket
," as helping in the current crisis.
"The financial crisis that we are in right now makes us work together in order to move forward with uninterrupted educational services for all of our students," she
said the school's department projected $10-million deficit was "of the greatest concern to all of us," but also explained how it has be long in coming due a structural deficiency in funding both at the local and state levels.
In fact, she
said the school department had operated on a budget of $75 million a dozen years ago, and yet now has been trying to operate on local and state funding totaling just $59 million even as the department's student needs continue to escalate.
The challenge of operating a school system under such circumstances has left Donoyan, who still considers herself a teacher "first and foremost," feeling like she
"stepped into an enormous mess," as it's leader, she
"The one thing is really clear to me, is that it is because of the dedicated teachers and the paraprofessionals and staff at each one of our schools that we are ready to teach our students each day," she
"I am forever grateful to the paraprofessionals and to the teachers who continue to step up to plate ready to take on more of the burden than they rightful should.
It is because of that that our school department keeps functioning to the letter of the law," she
said the solution to Woonsocket's school funding problems must come from the state and that she
would "stand next to" the members of the AFT
"as they demand that governor take an active interest in our school department."
"We need funding and we need it now," she
"And I stand next to the Woonsocket Teachers Guild
as they demand a fair funding formula which none of us should be begging for, but it should be offered because it is the right thing to do," she