The City of Newport and Town of Middletown has reopened the conversation surrounding regionalization once again.
According to both municipalities, this unified school district would allow both communities to retain their existing schools.
City of Newport
Here’s what the City of Newport had to say in a press release on Tuesday;
Municipal leaders from the City of Newport and the Town of Middletown have begun exploring the feasibility of combining administrative functions under a new regionalized school district that could allow both communities to receive up to 80 percent in reimbursement from the State for new school construction while at the same time preserving their respective traditions and classroom opportunities.
The potential cost-saving strategy was born out of recent discussions with the Rhode Island Department of Education (RIDE) in which it was determined that both communities could be eligible for increased state aid by combining organizational functions, including the development of a new joint School Committee.
Such an arrangement would allow each community to retain their existing school infrastructure, sports programs, and extracurricular activities while providing expanded class offerings and yielding potential long-term savings for taxpayers.
According to preliminary estimates from RIDE, by combining administrative, both Newport and Middletown would be eligible to receive up to 80 percent reimbursement from the state for new school construction, and could realize savings of up to $2.5 million in redundant annual administrative costs.
In order to better understand the process, Newport’s City Manager and Middletown’s Town Administrator will be working alongside experts from the Rhode Island Department of Education to review both the opportunities and the challenges posed by such an arrangement.
The discussions, which are still preliminary, will not impact the construction of the new Rogers High School or the work of Middletown’s School Building Committee, and further investigation is still necessary to better measure the extent of the benefits that could be realized by both communities.
Ultimately, any proposal that could come from the talks will need the endorsement of both the Middletown and Newport Councils before potentially heading to voters for final approval. ”
Town of Middletown
The town of Middletown shared the following statement with the City of Newport’s press release on their website on Tuesday;
“Newport, Middletown consider restarting talks about regionalizing their school systems — with a twist. State officials say both communities could keep their schools through a new arrangement, which will be explored by both communities.”