Superintendent Candidate Talks Budgets
Attleboro interviews Sheehan for superintendent position.
The Attleboro School Committee interviewed superintendent finalist Kenneth Sheehan Thursday. The current of the West Warwick public school district, he has nearly 40 years of experience in education.
Sheehan, the superintendent for the West Warwick School District, has nearly 40 years of experience in the educational field.
"Thirty-three years of which have been as a principal, assistant principal and superintendent," Sheehan said.
The committee asked him about dealing with school district budgets, which in Attleboro has been an issue. The city has designated the minimum amount of funding to the schools for some time.
"You could spend the next six weeks answering this question," Sheehan said. "This is a question that is plaguing every school system, for the most part, throughout the entire country. There are always tough decisions to be made."
Sheehan said although there are sometimes situations where difficult cuts have to be made to balance the budget, there are also opportunities to evaluate, prioritize and restructure the system, both for cost effectiveness and educational value.
"[This situation] let's you prioritize some programs over others," he said.
Sheehan added he would study and examine the possible effects, both long term and short term, any such cuts would have on the overall academic achievement in Attleboro.
"The community that I'm in, we have had a level-funded budget or less for six years," he said. "We have in fact gone from a $54 million budget to a $47 million budget and had to weather all the storms in between. Where I am now, this has in fact become an art form more than anything else."
Sheehan said he would have no problem asking the Attleboro government for more funds, but there would have to be certain stipulations before he would go to the city.
"We need to say this is where the increased money specifically will be going for," he said. "There is a justification associated with any time you ask for additional funds."
Sheehan said West Warwick has had its share of budget problems, but the school committee and the administration were able to overcome them.
"The [West Warwick] school department should have been bankrupt and taken over by the school department in the state in 2007," he said. "That didn't happen."
Sheehan has also worked in the Seekonk and Warwick school districts. The other finalist for the Attleboro superintendent post, Anthony Azar, was interviewed by the school committe last week.