East Providence schools make cuts

PROVIDENCE, RI – East Providence School officials say they are taking steps to address $4.5 million in overspending that is contributing to a $6 million city budget deficit. The school board approved 24 layoffs at a meeting this week. Chair Charles Tsonos says spending reductions have been underway since a new board started work in December.

"We have consolidated school and city services, we have restructured the school department," Tsonos says. "We have terminated and laid off some people. We've tried to make some cuts where we will not hurt the education of our students."

State officials are working with East Providence to craft a debt reduction plan for the city and the schools. Tsonos faults the prior school administration for failing to adequately monitor special education services at Bradley Hospital, which caused the school department debt.

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