open letter newport ri

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Dear Mayor and Members of the Newport City Council,

On behalf of the Newport Democratic City Committee, I am writing to strongly urge that you vote favorably to seek General Assembly approval to place the proposed $106,334,967 School Bond Issue on the November 3, 2020, ballot. As you know, Rogers High School has been design-ated by the RI Department of Education as the school most in need of repair or replacement in the state. After considerable study between and among local and state officials and building experts, it has been determined that replacement is the way to go. We understand that the cost for replacement has been set at $96,862,667.

The additions and modifications of Pell Elementary School have been evident over the past 2 to 3 years. Accommodating the needs of our youngest students is virtually a ‘no-brainer’ because we all realize how much is at stake in the formative years of a child’s life. We understand the Pell addition is said to be $7,472,300.

Most important is the fact that this bond is eligible for 52.5 % state reimbursement or $55,825,858. So, the impact on Newport taxpayers would be $50,509,107. Moreover, interest rates are very favorable these days.

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We profoundly believe, and we are confident that you would agree, that every student deserves every opportunity to succeed. They need and deserve all the support and encouragement they can receive. Along this line, we know that learning is enhanced many times over by being in an environment that is clean, safe, bright, warm, and well-equipped. 

We also know that having well-appointed school facilities adds immeasurably to the appeal or attractiveness of any community. You don’t need us to tell you how well-known the City of Newport is, so you know that, by supporting this school bond, you will be making such a sound investment in Newport’s future. 

There has been much debate on the school bond issue. The Newport School Committee has studied this issue extensively along with members of the Newport City Council and members of the general public. We are very encouraged that several members of the City Council have indicated that they are supportive of the proposed $106,334,967 bond, knowing that the eventual construction and availability  of these facilities will generate an atmosphere that is highly conducive to students in acquiring knowledge and, eventually, in becoming productive members of our community..

So, we implore you to cast your vote at your May 27 meeting in favor of children and future generations of learners who will be returning the favor to Newport for all the years that follow. We think that this an historic day and vote for the Newport City Council, one that you can always look back on, and say, “We did the right thing,” when we passed the resolution in support of the $106,334,967 school bond in 2020. There may well be no more important vote that you take as an elected official.

All good wishes,

J. Clement Cicilline

Chair

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