opinion Newport Rhode Island

To the editor and readers of What’s Up Newp:

As parents and PTO members of a Pell school first-grader (with one in preschool); members of the community and local volunteers, we would like to express our deep concerns about ballot question number 5 in Newport and questions 4 & 5 in Middletown.  

We spent the past weekend canvassing – against question 5 – with our two girls, ages 3 and 6.  As we knocked on doors and met our neighbors, we acknowledged the heartbreaking fact that we are ardent supporters of public education and are, in fact, in favor of properly regionalizing our two school systems.  We want our children educated with their friends from Middletown; we would like to stand shoulder to shoulder with Middletown parents and neighbors and together establish the very best schools and academic outcomes for our children.

Unfortunately what is currently being proposed will not achieve that.

There are myriad reasons why this “plan” is flawed but building 6 different schools rather than 3 or 4 state-of-the-art educational facilities is one of them. While we might miss some incentive dollars by going back to the drawing board, if we get it right, we can avoid the long term financial burden of supporting duplicate systems.

Simply constructing new (separate) buildings without first addressing the educational gaps – and recognizing potential educational opportunities – will put us on a path of parallel mediocrity for another 30 years.  

Real-regionalization should be student focused FIRST not simply a “money grab” without any thought or foresight for the future of our school systems nor our children.

Please, on behalf of our kids: reject question 5.

Joe & Alana Hearn

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