While the facilities that would house Rogers High School’s Cosmetology and Automotive programs may be on the chopping block as the system attempts to close a $20 million construction shortfall, the programs are not being eliminated.

Newport Superintendent of Schools Colleen Burns Jermain, appearing on a WhatsUpNewp videocast today, said that the current Career and Technical Center Building will not be demolished until there are funds to replace it.

“Kids are already in the programs,” she said. “We need to keep them going.”

Jermain addressed several issues, from school staffing, to challenges the system faces because it has among the most diverse student populations in the state, and one in which 70 percent of students are at poverty levels qualifying them for either free or reduced fee lunch programs. 

She said 37 percent of the system’s students are Hispanic, 36 percent white, 19 percent black, 4 percent American Indian, and 3 percent Asian.

“Poverty does matter,” she said. 

In an answer to a reader’s question she said nearly 20 percent of the system’s students are in English as  a Second Language (ESL) programs.  

Frank Prosnitz

Frank Prosnitz brings to WhatsUpNewp several years in journalism, including 10 as editor of the Providence (RI) Business News and 14 years as a reporter and bureau manager at the Providence (RI) Journal....