While other Middletown and Newport officials are touting the benefits of
regionalizing the communities’ schools, Newport Councilor Jamie Bova tonight will ask
the Newport City Council
to postpone the November regionalization vote.

[Update – Bova’s resolution to postpone the vote failed 5 – 2. The two votes in support of the resolution were Bova and Angela McCalla.]

Bova, in her newsletter, said she would favor a regionalization plan that
combines school facilities, rather than the current proposal that keeps school facilities
separate.

“The consultants have not addressed the impact of separate facilities, and
there is no proposed plan to expand educational offerings when students are split
between buildings across two communities,” Bova said.

Bova has echoed the concerns of some critics that while regionalization will
produce millions of dollars in savings for both communities, there are no guarantees the
savings will be re-invested in the schools to improve programs.

Newport Mayor Jeanne Marie Napolitano said that while she expects at least
some of the $46 million in savings Newport will realize through regionalization, this
council cannot speak for the council that will be elected in November.

Officials have also said that until regionalization is approved, it’s difficult to “map
out” specifics. At a recent community meeting, consultant David Sturtz was reported as
saying that the various models offer “opportunities that the districts were able to
leverage for gains academically, behaviorally, financially,

“They happened to different degrees in different circumstances, which should be
expected. Towns, kids and situations differ, but what was common throughout was
when benefits were made financially, academically and behaviorally, they were made
intentionally. The adults at the helm intentionally sought to improve the position of their
kids and of their district. They looked at the regionalization and took advantage of the
opportunities that presented themselves to benefit the kids. Nothing happened laissez
faire.”

Meanwhile, What’sUpNewp has been conducting a poll among newsletter
subscribers, and by this morning with some 216 responses, 71 percent said they favored regionalization.

Regionalization will result in a dramatic increase in state aid, with the
communities combined potentially receiving some $90 million in savings. Middletown is
coupling the regionalization proposal with a $235 million plan to build a new middle-high
school and combined elementary school.

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.