It appears school merger talks are on again between Middletown and Newport officials, and now we’d like to learn more. Newport School Superintendent Colleen Burns Jermain joins WhatsUpNewp for her monthly videocast tomorrow (Wednesday) at 1:30 p.m.

We’ll ask for particulars as the two systems move toward what is being called a merger of “organizational function,” including the development of a new joint School Committee. The joint press release from both communities suggests that each would retain independence on some level but combine on others. 

It also says talks are at a preliminary stage.

Interestingly, the press release says discussions are being held with “experts” from the Rhode Island Department of Education, Newport City Manager Joe Nicholson, and Middletown Town Manager Shawn J. Brown, Are the school professionals, school committees, town and city councils involved in the conversation?

The Middletown Town Council rejected any suggestion of a merger in the past. What’s changed that has sparked renewed interest in mergers?

Read More – Newport, Middletown explore the feasibility of combining administrative functions under a new regionalized school district

We’ll also ask the superintendent whether Newport has gotten caught up in the book banning controversy that has gripped other Rhode Island school districts, how kids in school are catching up on learning that was lost during the epidemic, and progress on the building projects.

Watch on YouTube. Watch and participate live on Facebook.

Frank Prosnitz

Frank Prosnitz brings to WhatsUpNewp several years in journalism, including 10 as editor of the Providence (RI) Business News and 14 years as a reporter and bureau manager at the Providence (RI) Journal. Prosnitz began his journalism career as a sportswriter at the Asbury Park (NJ) Press, moving to The News Tribune (Woodbridge, NJ), before joining the Providence Journal. Prosnitz hosts the Morning Show on WLBQ radio (Westerly), 7 a.m. to 9 a.m. Monday through Friday, and It’s Your Business, also on WBLQ, Monday and Tuesday, 9 a.m. to 10 a.m.

Prosnitz has twice won Best in Business Awards from the national Society of American Business Editors and Writers (SABEW), twice was named Media Advocate of the Year by the Small Business Administration, won an investigative reporter’s award from the New England Press Association, and newswriting award from the Rhode Island Press Association.