by Jamie Bova, City of Newport Council Chair and Mayor
Our children are our future. As they grow up and enter our community and the world at large, they will begin to shape it according to the knowledge and values they were taught early on. Their education is the foundation for the future, and investing in their education is an investment in our community.
The future is never certain, but the one thing we can be sure of is that our kids will live in it. It is our duty as a community – as parents, friends, neighbors, colleagues – to prepare our children for their future. The knowledge, values, and skills we impart on them today will determine if they will succeed tomorrow. Today we are tasked with the decision to fulfill our duty to their success as we decide on the future of Newport schools.
The plans that have been presented for the new school facilities represent Newport’s commitment to meeting our responsibility to our children. These projects are the result of the hard work and dedication of the school administration, teachers, students, parents, and the community as a whole. These facilities will give future generations of Newporters the education, tools, and opportunities they need to carry on after us. A state of the art school building not only provides the foundation for a modern, world-class education; it demonstrates to the children in our community that we value them, and it demonstrates to the parents among us that we are here to support them as they raise and nurture our future. We should be proud of the project we are about to embark on.
Those who were here before us worked hard to prepare us to face the future. They have put their faith and trust in us to take on the responsibility of preparing the next generation. The people of Newport take this responsibility seriously. In 2018 our community overwhelmingly voted to invest in the future by supporting the Rhode Island School Buildings bond, understanding the urgent need to invest in Newport’s school buildings. This is now our opportunity to capitalize on that investment. Over half of the cost of the plans we have developed will be covered by the State, with money that our residents invested with the expectation of a return. The historically low interest rates caused by the current uncertainty create a unique opportunity to maximize our returns. Now is the time to bring our resources back into the community to benefit Newport.
I truly commend everyone who has put in hard work over the past many years looking at every possible option to uphold our responsibility to the children of Newport. We should be proud that we can say we left no stone unturned. Try as we might, we did not find success under every rock. Grand visions require willing partners, and we could not find any partners that were willing to share our commitment to our children. As community leaders we know that not every effort in life is successful, and we should not be frustrated by dead-ends. We have followed a path that has led us to a bright future for our children, and we should be proud of where we stand today. Right now, the best opportunity to improve our children’s educational future is in front of us.Newport has created a plan that will give our children and their children the best possible environment to develop and learn the knowledge, values, and skills they will need to carry our community into the 21st century and beyond. We have put in the work, weighed the options, and drawn up a vision to give our children an education our parents would be proud to give to us. We stand ready to uphold our responsibility to our children and build the future that Newport deserves.