opinion Newport Rhode Island

The following former members of and advisors to the Citizens Exploring School Unification (CESU) group, formed in 2019, enthusiastically support voting YES on the school regionalization referendums on the ballot in Newport (item 5) and in Middletown (item 4). We also support voting YES on the Middletown School Bond Question 5.  All three ballot items must pass for the long-awaited school regionalization process to begin.

Even though many of us in Newport and Middletown would have preferred one unified high school building at the outset, currently approved school building projects in Newport and planned school buildings in Middletown prevent this from happening now.  Nevertheless, we can still see and imagine the educational benefits for the students of both communities, along with the creative uses and modifications of existing and proposed school buildings to enhance the educational process.

With the extensive financial support being offered by the Rhode Island Department of Education (RIDE) if these three ballot items are approved NOW, the possibilities for expanding educational programs are boundless.  New programs mean more opportunities for us to address students’ individual educational needs and goals.

Some of the possible educational benefits of school regionalization were clearly outlined and discussed by both the Newport and Middletown School Superintendents on October 27th in a joint, public school committee meeting* between Newport and Middletown.  

*See the link below from Midd Schl Comm, then add Passcode to view meeting:
https://mpsri-net.zoom.us/rec/share/pn-sUmQRgMc2k9GaM7QeMGzacvumeyIc6C7pmFdhYtWkeSNZ4gg0biWnqb857Fs_.dudGpRVXKjXhgFhm?startTime=1666906279000       PASSCODE:  W#qY7^!6  

We can no longer afford to study school regionalization and wait months or years in hopes that this opportunity will present itself again along with RIDE’s large financial incentives.  It’s already been 11 years that school regionalization between Newport and Middletown has been discussed and debated!

To all citizens and stakeholders in our two communities concerned with how school regionalization will work to benefit the students and save taxpayers money, we urge you to voice your opinions and involve yourselves with the regional school district Transitional Advisory Team, planned on being established if all three referendums are approved.  The Team’s objective will be to create recommendations or a blueprint for the new regional school district board.

We strongly urge all voters of Newport and Middletown to vote YES on the school regionalization referendums; and for Middletowners to additionally vote YES on the school bond (question 5).  Without a doubt, together, we can better meet the educational needs of our school-age children. 

Dick Adams, Middletown                            Libby Ivy, Middletown

Janet McCarthy, Middletown                     Chris Semonelli,  Middletown

Chip Leakas, Middletown                            Mike Cullen, Newport

Ron Héroux, Middletown                            Susan Schenck, Middletown                   

Gregory Huet, Middletown                         Anna Anton, Middletown

Beth Cullen, Newport                                   

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