open letter newport ri

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The City Council meeting on May 27 is a critical milestone for the new school construction project. The Council will be voting on putting the bond on the ballot and on the language that will be sent to the State. Currently, the language states that we want both Rogers and Pell together on the ballot.

I hope that you will all contact all the city council members in supporting the bond and language for a single question encompassing both projects.  

There is a lot of information out there about this bond. The workshop on May 21 with both groups provided excellent financial and educational information.

My position:

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1. First, I am sympathetic to the economic crisis caused by this pandemic, but I feel we will bounce back. Voting on this project now is the best financial deal we will ever have, especially due to the bonus reimbursement.

2. We need both projects to go ahead. Rogers is in terrible shape and we cannot let this project fail. The future cost of maintenance if the project fails would be a waste of money and the children and teachers risk being in a dangerous structure.

3. There should be one bond question for both projects. Seth Magaziner stated that that if there were 2 questions and only one passed we may not get the bonus (52.5% vs. 35%), especially true if only PELL passed. To get the bonus we need to break ground by the end of 2022. The RIDE bonuses are still probable, especially if the projects stay combined. (Note: Martiello and McKee’s hometowns have applied for the bonus, too.)

4. Dreams of acquiring enough property in the North End or getting Regional agreement are unrealistic. It’s not going to happen. So please don’t hurt our children by waiting around for this to happen. Seth stated that he attended a Middletown City Council meeting a few months ago. Seth had the impression that even if the State offered 100% reimbursement for a regional H.S. and built it for free, the Middletown Council still wouldn’t have been interested in regionalization.

Donna McCarthy

Newport

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