opinion Newport Rhode Island

There has been a lot of talk since the election about how Becky Bolan and Louisa Boatwright (co-chairs of the Rogers building committee) knew since mid-October, before the election, that Rogers was $20 million over cost and there was not enough money to complete the project. This on top of the $14 million the city generously provided to cover the increasing cost of the project. So, we find ourselves $40 million short on the Rogers project that the voters approved for $98 million. Drastic cuts are now being proposed to the building and educational programs. 

Becky and Louisa both claim we didn’t think it was important to notify the Rogers building committee, school committee, or the public. NOT IMPORTANT! Voters rejected regionalization by less than 400 votes. I wonder how many voters may have changed their vote.

So fast forward to Monday November 14th scheduled meeting of the building committee. The co-chairs started the meeting saying there are a lot of people here to speak on this kerfuffle and we will let people speak after our meeting is done. To top it off they said you had to be a Newport resident to speak. That left out four or more Middletown elected officials from making a comment. One man said, “ I’m a Rhode Island resident and shame on you”. Others left before they could speak because the meeting went for almost two hours.

Finally, I can’t stress enough how irresponsible it is to withhold this information from the voters, taxpayers, and parents. This is an unforgivable mistake with holding this information. It looks really, really bad they can’t spin it any other way they try. They have done so much damage to the Rogers High project.

Bobby Leary, Member of Newport School Committee