Anybody who noticed that Tiverton Schools’ Director of Finance and Administration Douglas Fiore missed the School Committee’s meetings throughout October had the puzzle solved on Tuesday when the committee accepted his resignation.
Mr. Fiore tells Tiverton Fact Check that he “wasn’t looking to leave Tiverton,” but that Barrington is “a larger school district with a major capital project to oversee (a new middle school).” The Barrington School Committee officially hired Fiore at its meeting on September 14, and official minutes of town agencies show that he has been attending meetings of its Strategic Planning Steering Committee and Middle School Building Committee.
While the career opportunity offered by the move is an understandable reason to leave, Tiverton residents may wonder whether town officials know something the rest of us don’t. School Superintendent William Rearick announced in August that he would retire at the end of his current contract, after June 2019, and the town’s police chief, Thomas Blakey, also announced in August his impending retirement. All of this follows the departure of Town Administrator Matthew Wojcik.
Throughout much of his time in Tiverton, Fiore was known to be quick to provide and explain information to the public, even those reputed to hold political views in opposition to growing school budgets. During budget development for the current fiscal year, however, the district’s handling of its budget came into question when this author uncovered a suspicious manipulation of state and federal aid that resulted in years of annual surpluses averaging nearly $1 million.
The schools’ $3.5 million surplus reserves as of the last town audit have been noted by taxpayers and auditors alike. Relatedly, the school department also came under fire for failing to create the dedicated capital account that would have allowed the town to recoup hundreds of thousands of dollars in reimbursements from the state.