School news: Sollitto takes over, summer meals feed dozens

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BURRILLVILLE – July 10 marked the first meeting of the Burrillville School Committee with Supt. Michael Sollitto at the head of the district, and residents and administrators welcomed the new school leader, noting they had high hopes that he can fill the shoes of his predecessor.

Sollitto replaces Supt. Frank Pallotta, who retired in June after nine years leading Burrillville schools.

“I just want to thank everyone for the warm welcome,” said Sollitto. “I got my feet on the ground over the last two weeks and everyone has been fantastic – the office staff and administration. I’m looking forward to a long prosperous tenure here at Burrillville schools.”

The new superintendent comes to Burrillville after 14 years at schools in Providence, and another 10 working for the Scituate School Department. salary of $145,000 was approved as part of the department’s budget by the Town Council

“I would just like to say that I really think that this town and this school district benefitted greatly from Dr. Pallotta’s tenure here,” said Dennis Anderson, a resident who has served on the town Budget Board and is currently running for Town Council. “We have a lot of great things going for us but we’re not without some of our challenges, like the state mandated and financial side of things as I’m sure our new superintendent will find. I hope that our new superintendent, who I welcome, can fill those shoes.”

It was a relatively light summer agenda that greeted Sollitto on Tuesday, July 10, and the meeting, which can be viewed here, lasted just 15 minutes. Member Alexandra Eclair was not present for the meeting.

Among agenda items was the news that the district had eliminated one bus through negotiations with transportation provider DATTCO.

“It’s going to be kind of on a trial basis at first to make sure it works,” said Chairman Mark Brizard.  “It’s good savings to offset what we were unable to get in our budget.”

The group also discussed the town’s new summer meals program, which began July 9. The state program, funded through the federal government, provides free lunches to anyone under the age of 18 Monday through Friday, from noon to 1 p.m. at the pavilion in front of the Jesse Smith Memorial Library.

“It’s the greatest thing since sliced bread – pun intended,” said Brizard. “I’m very excited about it.”

Organizers noted that more than 40 kids had taken advantage of the program in its first week.

“There are a lot of families in our town who need some help and it’s a fine way to do it,” said member Dorothy Cardon.

“Once the kids see that they won’t be stereotyped for it and there’s a lot of kids there and they can really have fun, it’s going to take off,” said Brizard.

The committee’s next meeting will be held on August 14.