What’s Up Newp received the following press release today, it was sent on behalf of Richard Adams and Citizens Exploring School Unification (CESU).

As a result of the Middletown Town Council’s decision to end discussion of school unification with the City of Newport, a group of Middletown citizens formed a non-profit group “Citizens exploring school unification” (CESU) that serves to promote further discussion and sample public opinion.

To that end, CESU has solicited and obtained nearly 1,000 signatures of Middletown citizens who disagree with the Council’s decision and wish to explore Middletown-Newport School unification. Specifically, these citizens agreed with the statement that We the undersigned respectfully ask the Middletown Town Council to reconsider its decision and authorize comprehensive, non-binding discussions of school unification.”

These signatures have now been forwarded to the Middletown Town Council along with a recommendation to appear on the December 2, 2019 consent calendar in the hope that that the Council will now allow for discussion and exploration with Newport as to the many advantages school unification could mean for the two communities, from both an educational as well as financial standpoint.   

To begin the discussions, CESU recently co-sponsored two well-attended public forums at the Community College of Rhode Island where experts from other school districts spoke on their experiences in school regionalization.*

“Based on our sampling of citizens’ opinions and hearing from educational experts, we believe that it is shortsighted and a disservice to our high school students to consign them for the foreseeable future to an obsolete building with a shrinking student population.  We think that unification of Rogers and Middletown High Schools is a first and logical step toward improving the educational opportunities and performance of both school districts” said Dick Adams, President of CESU.

“We’re asking the Council reconsider their previous decision and authorize the creation of a joint Middletown-Newport Committee consisting of both citizens and elected school and/or municipal officials to consider in detail how a unified high school should be created and approved by the citizens of both Middletown and Newport. To not do so would be a disservice to both the future of our students and taxpayers” said Adams.

For more information or to get involved in supporting school unification, visit the CESU website at CESU.news

* During the second citizen’s forum co-sponsored by CESU, the following remarks were offered by the principal of the nationally acclaimed regional William M. Davies Jr. Career and Technical High School:

The residents of the Island now have a very interesting opportunity to capitalize on the fiscal benefits of regionalizing at least your high schools. We have to start thinking about the fact that on an island just 13 miles long there are three different school districts. The duplication of effort, administration and leadership, along with the fiscal implications of running three different high schools, is not a wise use of your resources.

Additionally, the model of educating students in RI has changed greatly. It would not make sense to continue running schools that are twice the size you need for half the enrollment they were built for.

It’s time to take a hard look at the amount of money being spent for an antiquated model of educating our children.

–       Adam Flynn-Tabloff, Director at Wm. M. Davies Jr., Career & Technical High School. Providence, Rhode Island 

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