I am writing in support of the Newport School Bond (Question No. 2). On November 3rd we have the opportunity to vote Yes on the bond, Yes, to improving and expanding Pell School and Yes to a new Rogers High School.
As a graduate of Rogers, I share, as many of you do, fond memories of high school. Rogers was built in 1957, when I graduated from high school in 1977, the building was just 20 years old. I am thankful to the Newporters who invested in my school and provided me the foundation of my career which included college, law school, the RI Senate President and today, President of the Hospital Association of Rhode Island.
Some members of the community are calling for a No vote. They support combining our efforts with Middletown. The reality is Middletown has said No both at the ballot box and through their elected leaders. If we say No to the proposed bond, we are saying no to investing in Newport’s children. If we delay, the building will only get older. Even if the bond is approved this year, it will be two years before construction of a new high school will be complete.
Rogers High School needs health, safety, environmental and technology updates. Pell Elementary School is a victim of its own success and is overcrowded and in need of expansion. I had the honor of representing Newport in the General Assembly. During that time, the highest reimbursement for school construction that Newport ever received was 35%. It is unprecedented that our delegation has secured construction incentives of 52.5% of the cost of building a new school.
I believe it is our responsibility to provide the next generation of Newporter’s those same opportunities that I was given. They are counting on us. They need to know that the community they live in believes in them, the way our parents, friends and neighbors believed in us.
We cannot afford to wait. Children and teachers deserve a state of the art facility. Please join me on November 3rd and vote YES on Number 2 on the Ballot.
Let’s move Newport forward together.
Teresa Paiva Weed
RHS Class of 1977