I have had friends ask me where to find good information about the SK School Facilities bond referendum. They are confused by what they are seeing on social media. Why would they ask me? They know I care about education since I am often excitedly talking about some new student interactive, project-based lesson in my class at Providence College, and they know I have worked with the hands-on/minds-on K-8th grade GEMS-Net science curriculum adopted by South Kingstown.
As an SK resident I have a studied the upcoming $85 million school bond vote very carefully. I have followed the process intently, attended community meetings, read all of the documents, and corresponded with officials at RIDE to learn more so I could vote thoughtfully.
Eighty-five million dollars does not begin to tell the story as to the cost of these bonds.
If you live in South Kingstown, you already know they are holding the line on a property tax increase if this incomplete bond is approved. The 95+ million total bond cost is for a number of incomplete projects that may or may not be completed in some of our citizen’s lifetimes, and SKHS graduates that choose to remain here post college and university and tech/trade school as well.
Have you seen those postcards and letters asking you to Stop the Plan? As with most conspiracy theories, they are filled with half-truths, misrepresentations and wrong “facts,” to create a high level of fear, uncertainty and doubt. Each of the reasons given to justify stopping the plan are patently erroneous.
As a lifelong educator I have been observing and studying the current debate over the proposed School building projects and the upcoming Bond Vote on May 4. We need caution here, because if this plan is approved, this will be the limit of what the town can borrow.
Over the past few months there have been a number of comments trying to characterize people that want to stop this plan as people that just hate to pay taxes, conservatives, old people not wanting to support education, people that just don’t get it, etc. These statements are absolutely ridiculous.
It was barely a month ago that supporters of the school facility bond were enthusiastically touting the benefits of the plan. They wanted everyone to know about the great newish high school, the reimagined elementary schools, and all the savings from “taking square footage offline.” Since the plan has shown its true colors, the only arguments we seem to hear about are how “it’s this or nothing” or “we’re voting for the bond, not the plan,” or “if we don’t do this, someone else will get our money.” It’s really pretty sad. If you believe in a plan, be proud and support it.
Education is one of the primary functions of local governments. South Kingstown must continue its strong commitment to education. This commitment is a key element on how the community is perceived.
Local governments need to be transparent and allow citizen input.
We support the School Facilities Improvement Bond in the May 4 special election. With anticipated approval by the RI Department of Education (RIDE) under their “Necessity of School Construction” Review, this bond directly supports infrastructure improvements to our schools – with a significant investment in our high school.
Over the last several years, elected officials, municipal and school administrators and community key stakeholders — along with the guidance of our project manager, have worked to come up with a fiscally responsible plan to address the $85 million dollars of deficiencies that have been identified in our school buildings — while also modernizing the way that we teach and learn in South Kingstown.
There is a plan moving forward to relocate the South Kingstown High School instead of improving our current high school on Columbia Street, in the middle of Wakefield. After spending six years on our Town Council and being involved in the process from the start, this is not the best plan.
Regarding South Kingstown’s school facility $85 million bond vote on May 4, despite being a lifelong advocate for education, students and faculty, I can’t support this plan. In fact, this is my first time to reject an educational bond. I am ready to approve funding a school facilities project, but not this one.
President Joe Biden has just announced his decision to bring the 20 year-long “forever war” in Afghanistan to an end, withdrawing all US troops responsibly, starting immediately. As a post-9/11 Marine Corps veteran, I fully support the President’s decision and urge our Rhode Island delegation Senator Jack Reed, Senator Sheldon Whitehouse, Rep Jim Langevin, and Rep David Cicilline to do the same.
This letter is submitted in response to Joseph Lembo’s letters published in the April 1st and April 8th, 2021 editions of The Independent (“Call for three-student limit ignores the facts”, “Three Student Ordinance is flawed and ignores character of our town”)
Mr. Limbo states on April 1st that a recent editorial and emails to the Council attacking a Town Council member were called “harsh,” and that this “magnifies the need to clear the air of misinformation.” He said there is an effort by small neighborhood resident groups and their spokespeople to bully and intimidate the current Town Council members. The remainder of Mr. Lembo’s letter is devoted to claiming that neighborhood groups base our support for the new three-student ordinance on eight-year old facts. He then goes on to credit Narragansett 2100 for the improved police statistics regarding student disturbances. He says neighborhood groups have turned a blind eye to landlord progress.
To my fellow North Kingstown residents:
To date, Rhode Island has had approximately 141,000 COVID cases and 2,638 related fatalities, Washington County has had 9,274 cases and 166 fatalities. It goes without saying that this COVID pandemic has been going on for too long.