WOOD RIVER JCT. — Members of the Chariho School Committee announced the creation of two new Barry J. Ricci memorial scholarships at their Tuesday meeting.
Committee Vice Chairwoman Catherine Giusti said the awards, of $2,500 each, were proposed by the family of the late Chariho superintendent who passed away in December 2019.
“They’re generously donating the funds for these scholarships, which I think is something Barry would have loved,” she said.
The scholarships will be open to any Chariho senior pursuing a two- or four-year degree in a human service-related profession at an accredited college or university.
“It’s for someone who’s going to go to school in some sort of a service-related field, I would say teaching or public service or public health,” Giusti said.
The committee also approved the district’s participation in a National Grid initiative to convert lighting in all buildings to energy-efficient light emitting diode, or LED, lighting.
Proposed by Finance Director Ned Draper, the lighting project will entail the installation of new fixtures, the retrofitting of existing lights, and the addition of light and motion sensors.
In his report to the committee, Draper cited the example of the high school, which would save $2,000 per year with the new lighting.
“Using the high school as an example, roughly $48,000 per year in utility savings is offset by a bill for project work of $46,000 per year resulting in a net savings to the district of $2,000 a year,” he wrote.
Draper also noted that the district’s labor costs would be reduced.
“Also gained from this project are labor efficiencies to address deferred maintenance needs,” he stated. “LED technology has a life of 100,000 hours and we anticipate that bulb replacement, other than defective or isolated lamp needs, will cease. This will release maintenance resources for other high priority tasks.”
Early dismissal draws mixed reaction
The district has had two early dismissal days since the committee approved a proposal to release students at lunchtime every Wednesday. The change, requested by teachers, will give them more planning time as they teach both in-person and remote-learning students.
Superintendent Gina Picard said reaction to the new plan has been mixed, with complaints from at least one parent, but the teachers are finding the additional time to be useful.
“We’ve gotten warm and cold feedback,” she said. “Overall, the teachers do feel that it’s an opportunity to hone in on the planning that they need to be thoughtful about their concurrent learning,” she said.
In other business, the committee named Linda Lyall of Charlestown and Hopkinton member Catherine Giusti chairwoman and vice chairwoman, respectively, replacing Ryan Callahan and Craig Louzon.
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