I am writing this letter to urge the Newport City Council members to move the one school bond forward. It’s disappointing that some members are willing to leave our children’s future to “IFS”…. All while our children attend the worst public high school facility in the state:
· If regionalization advocates collect enough signatures to establish a planning committee to study regionalization in Middletown, and;
· If the Middletown planning committee actually gets established and conducts their work in a timely and productive manner, and;
· If the study actually determines that there are actually enough inefficiencies (i.e. cost savings) in the current system that it will be beneficial to regionalize, and;
· If the new study doesn’t sit on a shelf gathering dust like the 2009 RIPEC report did, and;
· If both Newport and Middletown can agree on the best way to control (how many school board seats for each community) and fund (how would a regional funding formula impact each municipal budget) a regional school district, and;
· If an actual agreement and regionalization plan is proposed that will be supported by the Middletown and Newport councils, and;
· If the state approves an actual agreement and regionalization plan through multi-levels of agency review, and;
· If the voters in Middletown and Newport agree through voter approval, not just in concept but to the real final proposal which will shift control and funding for the education of our children to a regional school board.
These ifs will not be resolved overnight. While we wait for no guarantee that any of the above will happen, our children will attend school in a building that is unsafe and our Council is willing to give the incentives to other towns to build their school projects. The voters of Newport in 2018 voted 84.1% in favor of the school bond funding. If history has shown us anything, it has been 11 years since the RIPEC Study with ZERO action taken. Are our Newport families and children expected to wait 11 more years to see IF they are finally afforded the building they deserve? I did not vote for our Council to govern by “IFS” while sitting by and watching our families miss out on the best financial deal we will ever see for a new high school! We need to show our children that we are willing to take action and give them the safe, secure, and modern school they and all children of Newport deserve. Afterall, today’s Pell Students are tomorrow’s Rogers High School graduates.
Mark Muenter, Ph.D.