I have been reading the comments advocating approval or rejection of the Newport Public School bond referendum. My wife and I are grandparents of a child at Pell Elementary and another at Rogers High and have a vested interest in the issue. We have studied the arguments and conclude without a doubt that Rogers needs to be rebuilt and Pell expanded and now is the time to approve the Bond. Even for those voters who may not have children in the Schools, my feeling is that the Rogers and Pell investment is a wise investment. Having excellent schools affects the quality of life in the community, the attraction to businesses and young families to Newport, and the value of our real estate. Still, the issue, and our responsibility, is to provide the best educational environment for our Newport Public School students, teachers and staff.
Ironically, many of those opposing the Bond issue and telling us to vote NO on the referendum do not question the need for a new high school or an expanded Pell. They want us to wait until after the November election and continue to pursue a regionalized high school with our neighbors, primarily Middletown. While sharing the cost of building a new high school is attractive, I believe there are flaws in their logic, and therefore should not be considered. First, Newport has approached the officials of Middletown and Portsmouth for years to consider regionalization, and have been rejected by both. Second, while there is a group of citizens in Middletown trying to resurrect discussion of regionalization, their efforts have been thwarted. Third, there is no assurance that the results of elections in these communities will lead to any change in regionalization sentiment, and only with change is there any hope for further discussion. Fourth, even if there is change, it is not clear what the ensuing discussions, studies, and recommendations will be, or how long that process and its agreement will take. Fifth, there are strict deadlines with the reimbursement process offered by Rhode Island. We now have commitment to a 52.5% reimbursement from the state and if we delay our process, we risk losing that commitment. And with the current economic environment, if we vote no now and seek to come back to the table, say, next year, any RI offer may not be extended. The opportunity is now. The sixth point is that there is no reason for a delay. We can vote YES on the Bond and still continue the discussion of regionalization. In any case, we cannot delay our vote and we must vote YES now.
Ken Nomiyama, Newport