opinion Newport Rhode Island

Often opposition to a proposal or a new idea is a decoy – a fake substitution or flare intended to distract from something valid or challenging.  School regionalization?  Watch out for the flares.

Flare #1 – Loss of union jobs.
Reality –  The school population will grow due to students returning to the schools from home or private schooling. Other initiatives, such as affordable housing, will bring an influx over time of additional students. Hence the need for more teachers, not fewer.

Flare # 2 – Employment contracts will be invalidated.

Reality – Existing contracts will remain in effect until a new regional agreement is negotiated and approved.

Flare # 3 – If we wait, we can develop plans for unified secondary schools.

Reality – The option of 80.5% reimbursement using ARPA funds is on the table today. If we don’t take it, the money will go to other areas of the state and we will continue to provide a minimal level of education for our kids.

Flare # 4 – We don’t want the taxes to increase.

Reality – The Middletown schools are in deplorable condition. Minimal patchwork will still take place at close to the same cost as new buildings. And, without regionalization,  Newport will have interest payments at a higher rate.  

Flare $ 5 – There is no detail about educational improvements.

Reality – Ideas are being proposed and talks continue. By the time the Regional School Committee is elected, favorable improvements – developed from community discussion over the next year – will be on the table.  Commitment to implementation will be in the hands of the Nov. 2023 voters.

So, it’s up to you not to be misled by petty objections that have no validity. We have to do this. It’s for our kids.

Furthermore, a further sign of the value of this effort is the interest expressed by nearby communities.
So, on Nov. 8, in Middletown, please support questions 4 and 5, and in Newport, please  support question 5. 

Then plan on voting next year for a Regional School Committee that will raise our education to the level that our students deserve (which could even include a plan for unifying our middle schools.)

Please vote – it’s for the kids.

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