The Newport School Committee and Administration for Newport Public Schools has “illegally been collecting” co-pays from school retirees, according to multiple informed sources and retirees.

Despite teachers signing contracts and agreeing to terms with Administration regarding co-pays for health and life insurance, some say the Newport School Committee and Administration began charging more in co-pays than the contracts allowed in order to “save and collect more money”.

One retiree, who spoke to us on guarantee of anonymity, told us that they have been charged more than they agreed upon in their contract for at least one year.

The Newport City Council provided the Newport School Committee with a four percent increase in the latest budget. Some believe that the amount “illegally collected” by Newport School Committee and School Administration is at least $50,000 and could create a deficit for the City Council and School Committee’s budget.

According to a source closely involved, “the Attorney for Newport Public Schools and attorney for the retirees told Newport School Committee and School Administration that they were breaking the contract and to stop overcharging. They continued to do so. Now the (retiree/teachers) union has lawyers involved. The overcharges are with retired teachers. Because the School Committee has refused to stop their overcharging, there will be a lot of money that needs to be returned to retired teachers.”

“The School Administration and School Committee are not telling the City Council or anyone about this- they are hiding all of this in Executive Sessions. They have illegally been collecting co-pays from school retirees and now they need to cough up the money,” said a retiree.

An e-mail from the teacher and retiree union was sent out to Newport School Retirees on Wednesday, October 12th and urged them not to pay the bill, “DO NOT PAY the bill that you recently received from the School Department dated 10/4/2016. The School Department sent these new bills without any discussion with our attorney or the healthcare committee, after having told us that we would meet again to discuss all figures to be included in any future billing”.

This story will be updated as more information is received.

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Ryan Belmore has been the Owner & Publisher of What's Up Newp since 2012. He also currently works for Mountain News, where he serves as Senior Editor - North America for OnTheSnow. He previously worked for the New England Patriots and American Cancer Society. He currently serves as Vice President of Fort Adams Trust and is a member of Local Independent Online News (LION) Publishers and North American Snowsports Journalists Association (NASJA).