Middletown Town Hall | This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license.

Citizens Exploring School Unification (CESU), a nonprofit that was “formed shortly after the Middletown Town Council declined to discuss or consider unification of Rogers and Middletown High Schools”, shared the following press release on Tuesday evening in which they announce a petition drive targeting the November 3, 2020 election .

Citizens Exploring School Unification (CESU) announces petition drive targeting November 2020 Election

What: 2020 Petition Signing Event – Kick Off!

When: Monday, February 10th from 6:00pm – 7:30pm

Where: Middletown Public Library | Main Conference Room | 700 W Main Rd, Middletown, RI 02842

Who: All Middletown Registered Voters – including parents, families, students, residents, and concerned citizens

Why: A citizen’s referendum will place the following question/ordinance on the Nov. 3rd Middletown local ballot for a vote:

“We the undersigned voters request the Middletown Town Council, under Section 402 of the Middletown Town Charter, to adopt the following ordinance:

‘The Town of Middletown shall join with Newport to form a Regional Planning Board to explore School District Unification.” 

*ask to see details described in the proposed ordinance to be presented to the Middletown Town Council Approval of School District Unification would require a Special Election in November 2021.

We are asking ALL Middletown, Rhode Island Registered Voters to join us by SIGNING A PETITION asking that a binding Referendum be placed on the November ballot for formation of a joint Middletown-Newport Committee to explore school unification 

  • Formal Announcement of CESU Petition
  • Schools Unification construction reimbursement costs as high as 80.5%
  • Campaign Volunteer outreach through door to door canvasing and social media

Effective Thursday, February 6, 2020 Citizens Exploring School Unification (CESU) will officially launch their PETITION to place on the November ballot a referendum question directing the formation of a joint Middletown-Newport Committee to consider and plan for school district unification.  

The petition can be viewed on the website for download https://cesu.news/petition

On June 17th, the Middletown Town Council – by a vote of 5-2 – declined to explore potential educational, extracurricular and financial benefits of Middletown and Newport school unification.  We think this attempt to SILENCE Middletown voters is wrong and must be overturned!

Our Vision: To explore, define and consider potential educational, extracurricular and financial benefits of Middletown and Newport school unification.

Our Organization: CESU was formed shortly after the Middletown Town Council declined to discuss or consider unification of Rogers and Middletown High Schools.

We are a group of Middletown and Newport citizens who think the Middletown Council’s decision was short-sighted and condemns our students to a small school of very limited educational opportunities for the foreseeable future.

Dick Adams, President of CESU saidWe are shooting for approximately 1,200 signatures of registered Middletown voters by April 2020 so you can expect to see us at many local events as well as door-to-door in Middletown neighborhoods in the coming weeks.  We are asking all our local parents, neighbors, residents, concerned citizens, and registered voters to join us by signing to petition to “Support comprehensive, non-binding discussions of school unification in Middletown, RI”.

Our first Petition Signing event will be held on Monday February 10th in the Middletown Public Library entrance hall at 6:00pm to 7:30pm

CESU will have a table with the petition, a Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) sheet and other related materials.

If a regional school district is formed for kindergarten through 12th grade, the two municipalities would be eligible for up to an 80.5% state reimbursement rate on any school construction project that began by December 2022.  Beyond December 2022, the long-term incentives for a regional district would be capped at 66%.  NOW IS THE TIME TO ACT!

Dick Adams, President of CESU says, “It is inconceivable to me, and an assault on my common sense that Middletown and Newport will choose to build or massively renovate two separate 500-600 student, mediocre high schools within 6 miles of each other.  We can and should do so much better.”  Dick Adams went on to say,We think that to arbitrarily limit our students’ educational horizons without considering the opportunities offered by unification of these two small schools housed in 60-year-old building is a dereliction of public duty and responsibility.” Additionally, Dick Adams commented that “We believe that the status quo is not good enough and reflects a failure of imagination and an inability to recognize the possibilities of a unified high school.”  Additionally, Dick’s emotional appeal to Middletown residents included his sentiment that he hoped Middletown voters would join together “…Don’t shut the door on the future of our children”

Dick Adams went on to explain “To meet the requirements of Rhode Island Law municipalities we will need to submit the Voter Initiative Petition to the Middletown Town Clerk by April 2020 with a minimum of 1,200 Middletown registered voter signatures.” 

Dick Adams emphasized “Therefore, we are actively seeking and recruiting local volunteers, parents, residents and voters to help us with our petition drive.”  To learn more about Citizens Exploring School Unification (CESU) connect with us via the new website http://cesu.news OR on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/cesunews/  


Citizens Exploring School Unification (CESU) was incorporated as a Rhode Island Non-Profit on August 12, 2019. Officers include:

• Richard P. Adams – President 

• Janet Kelly McCarthy – Vice President 

• William W. “Chip” Leakas – Treasurer 

• Ronald Héroux – Secretary


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