I am running for a seat on the Newport School Committee and I am asking for your vote on November 8.
My involvement in Newport schools began in September 2014 when our daughter began Kindergarten at Pell Elementary. I’ve made wonderful friends, joined the PTO and have been actively involved ever since – serving as PTO President at Pell Elementary and then Thompson Middle School and since 2018, as a committee member on the School Building Committee, overseeing the Pell expansion and Roger’s High School re-build. My participation has affirmed the critical importance of being at the table when decisions are made regarding our children’s education and future.
I am running for School Committee to ensure we continue addressing the health and wellness of our students, teachers and staff and ensuring all of our children achieve their full potential and reach their career goals, whether those goals are going to college or becoming certified and licensed in a high demand trade. Regardless, all students deserve to be exposed to all that our schools have to offer and thus, we need to work together as a community to close the educational gap worsened by the pandemic. As a member of the Newport School Committee, I will work for the students of Newport, – with an eye always on their success – even when that means making difficult decisions.
Therefore, as a candidate for school committee it is important for voters to know I plan to reject question #5 on the ballot. It is not the regionalization that Newport has been asking for. The voters of Newport need to know – There is no combining of facilities. There have been no studies showing any educational benefits and how this would work with both communities running separate schools. I attended every workshop and the consultants from Woolpert and Cooperative Strategies could find no documented examples nationally of a combined district that did not combine schools. As a result, all their cost savings are strictly hypotheticals. With no plan, no known educational benefits, no true examples of long-term cost reductions, this is a gamble I will not take with our student’s education. I would feel more comfortable voting on a process that was not rushed, that followed Article 16 of the General Assembly, that is the framework for two or more communities to come together and see if regionalization is truly in the best interest of both communities. This is a backroom deal that was struck between the town and city managers and select council members, keeping the school committees, charged with the care and well-being of our students, in the dark. Only after the legislation was approved for the ballot was the school committee invited into the conversation. It is a rushed, flawed, and senseless process with little to no thought for the students and their futures, one that I cannot support.
Kendra Wilson Muenter
Candidate for Newport School Committee
Newport RI 02840