Raimondo, Community Highlight Need for Statewide Investment in School Facilities

Highlighting the need for statewide investment in school construction ahead of House and Senate hearings this week, Governor Gina Raimondo toured Portsmouth Middle School on Monday joined by school officials, elected leaders and members of the labor and building trades.

With a facility deficiency cost of nearly $20 million, the condition of Portsmouth Middle School is considered poor, according to the R.I. Department of Education’s State of Rhode Island Schoolhouses report released in September 2017.

“Every child deserves to go to school in a place that is warm, safe, and dry,” said Governor Gina M. Raimondo. “Simply putting band aids on our schools year after year only kicks the heart of the issue down the road. It’s time for our state to make a once-in-a-lifetime investment to ensure every child is in a learning environment that contributes to their success.”


School buildings in every district in the state received failing grades in Rhode Island’s first-ever statewide, independent study of public school facilities last year. The report forecasts $627.5 million in high-priority construction and repairs.

Governor Raimondo’s 2019 budget proposal sets the conditions to see $1 billion in school construction activity over the next five years, including a proposed $250 million general obligation bond to be put on the ballot in November.

“Rhode Islanders are clearly ready to make a once-in-a-generation investment in repairing our schools and building modern facilities that can equip students with the skills and experience to succeed,” said General Treasurer Seth Magaziner. “The longer we wait the more expensive and difficult it will be to overcome this challenge. It’s time to fix our schools now.”

“This effort is critical in providing our students a safe, warm and dry learning environment,” said Larry Purtill, president of the National Education Association Rhode Island. “We need schools that meet the technology needs of a modern economy. We need to send a message to all of our students that they are important and we care about their future no matter what community they live in.”

“Investing in school construction is paramount for students, teachers and our economy,” said Michael Sabitoni, President of the RI Building and Construction Trades Council. “Our school buildings are dilapidated and in desperate need of repair. Fixing them will not only create a better learning environment for students and teachers, but will create jobs and be a huge boon to our state’s construction industry.”

Ryan Belmore is the Publisher of What'sUpNewp. 
Belmore has been involved with What’sUpNewp since shortly after its launch in 2012, proudly leading it to be named Best Local News Blog in Rhode Island by Rhode Island Monthly readers in 2018, 2019, and 2020 and an honorable mention in the Common Good Awards in 2021.

Born and raised in Rhode Island, Belmore graduated from Coventry High School and the Community College of Rhode Island. In addition to living in Newport for 10 years, he has lived in Portsmouth, Coventry, Providence, Smithfield, Burrillville, and East Greenwich.

Belmore currently serves as Vice President of the Board Of Directors for Fort Adams Trust and on the Board of Directors for Potter League For Animals. He previously served on the Board of Lucy's Hearth and the Arts & Cultural Alliance for Newport County.

Belmore and his wife, Jen, currently live in Alexandria, Virginia, a move they made in 2021. Read more about that here - https://whatsupnewp.com/2021/09/letter-from-the-publisher-some-personal-news/

Belmore visits Newport every couple of weeks to support the 12+ paid contributors What'sUpNewp has on the ground across Rhode Island, a place he called home for 39 years.

Belmore is a member of Local Independent Online News (LION) Publishers, Society of Professional Journalists, and the North American Snowsports Journalists Association.

In 2020, Belmore was named Member of the Year by LION and won the Arts & Cultural Alliance of Newport County's Dominque Award.
Belmore can be contacted at ryan@whatsupnewp.com and 401-662-1653.