Newport Public Schools
Newport Public Schools

The Teachers Association of Newport (TAN), the teachers union in the Newport school district, today issued a statement opposing ballot Question 5 regarding regionalizing Middletown and Newport public schools.  

Statement

“TAN does not oppose conversations or initiatives to improve the educational experiences of the students we serve,” said TAN President Jennifer Hole. “But the lack of defined outcomes from regionalizing makes the proposal too risky for students in each community.

“The multiple presentations have not produced a plan for how students will be assigned to schools, no plan for how student outcomes will improve, and no plan for the savings realized to be invested back into students.”

In a Superintendent Message dated September 28, 2022, Newport Superintendent Dr. Colleen Jermain summarized the ambiguity of the proposal: “What is not being answered, and is difficult to answer, is how regionalization will help ensure our schools will be funded with some of these savings or what educational improvements will occur because of regionalization.” 

Members from TAN have attended and participated in virtual and in-person presentations over the course of the summer. The members listened attentively to the presentations and offered feedback in breakout discussions. All attendees worked in good faith and determination to brainstorm ways to improve outcomes for students.  

After careful deliberation, the Teachers Association of Newport opposes the regionalization ballot questions based on the lack of answers surrounding reinvestment in student outcomes and educational improvements stemming from a regionalized district.  

“We are always interested in finding better ways to deliver services to our students. However, at this time, there are not enough definitive answers around this proposal as to how that would occur,” said Hole. 

Question 5

Among the state and local questions on the back of the ballot for the General Election, Newport voters will be asked to approve or reject Question 5

  1. AUTHORIZE THE ESTABLISHMENT OF A REGIONAL SCHOOL DISTRICT
    (Local Acts 057 and 058 – Acts and Resolves of 2022) (Resolution of the Newport City
    Council adopted May 16, 2022) Shall an Act passed at the 2022 session of the General Assembly entitled ‘An act authorizing the City of Newport and Town of Middletown to establish a regional school district and providing for state aid for school housing costs at school housing reimbursement rates for regional school districts which, including incentives, may exceed 80% of debt service for expenditures

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