Warwick Vets would be converted to junior high

A special panel looking into school closure and consolidation in Warwick voted Friday to send to the School Committee its recommendation to convert Warwick Veterans Memorial High School into the city's sole junior high school.

Students, parents and teachers from Vets don't like the plan. They rallied outside the meeting at the school administration building as there wasn't enough room for them to be inside. That upset them too.

"It's almost like it was a done deal before they even started," said parent Robert Cerio about the process.

The city said it's looking to consolidate schools because student enrollment has declined significantly and some buildings are only half full.

The proposal calls for students from Vets to be split between the city's other two high schools, Toll Gate and Pilgrim.

Students from the city's two junior high schools would move into the Vets building and the two junior high buildings would be closed.

"Everybody agrees that we need to consolidate a school, but unfortunately, please don't do my school. It's that type of thing. It's not that we're heartless. This should not be viewed as a negative thing," superintendent Richard D'Agostino said.

D'Agaostino said the district would save $11 million up front and more than $4 million a year.

The proposal goes to the School Committee and would be implemented by next year.