City of Warwick and School Department to Settle Dispute in Mediation
The Warwick School Department and the City of Warwick will avoid litigation by resolving their ongoing dispute in mediation. The dispute concerns the school’s nearly $5 million budget gap and those familiar with the situation were confident the issue was contentious enough that litigation would be necessary.
Near the end of the most recent meeting between the two parties, the lawyer for the committee, Andrew Henneous, explained the committee had agreed to dismiss their pending lawsuit against the city. Henneous stated the two sides were pleased to “announce the parties will once against engage in mediation and are working with a well-known mediator in the state to try and bring resolution to the budget situation.”
Vincent Ragosta is the mediator of whom Henneous spoke and recently had experience helping the Warwick Teachers’ Union and the school department reached a multi-year agreement in 2017 through mediation.
The mediation will allow the two sides to discuss the issue and see if they are able to reach an agreement on their own. Should that prove impossible, Ragosta will hear the last best offers and make a final decision based on what was discussed during the mediation sessions. Essentially, they are trying everything they can to leave the power in the hands of the two sides involved. But will allow a third-party the power to make a final decision if necessary.
In addition to reaching a binding compromise, discussions during the mediation will also address the city having to hear the school department’s request to release over $6 million in bond funding from the $40 million bond that was approved by voters in November.