2018-05-24 / Opinion


Support for the 2018/2019 Newport School Budget

To the Editor:

In a statement I presented to the Newport City Council meeting on May 23, I stated that I am chairman of the One Newport committee and am helping to implement the School’s strategic plan. I am also on the school’s finance subcommittee and have been involved for more than three years in analyzing the financials and budgets. I am also a grandparent of an eighth-grader at Thompson and a first-grader at Pell and am asking the City Council to support the 2018/2019 budget submission by the Newport Public Schools.

The points I made are:

I. The School’s strategic plan is now in its second year and is making progress. For example, the program is getting strong support from organizations such as the Newport Partnership for Families, the van Beuren Charitable Foundation, and the Barr Foundation. Strategic initiatives, such as introducing Chromebooks to the students and focusing on early childhood education are well underway. Achieving a 100 percent graduation rate and reducing chronic absenteeism will continue to be important goals. The investments reflected in the budget are critical to the success of the strategic plan.

II. The 2018/2019 budget submission is realistic. The City has proposed an increase in appropriation of 1.81 percent. However, the projected increase in expenses for the School’s salaries and benefits alone, without any increase in staff headcount, is already well above that amount. Other built-in increases in expense, such as for transportation and utilities, must also be accounted for, which would put the needed increases well above the 1.81 percent. Since Dr.Carlos Colley, the new business manager, came on board, he has worked diligently to refine and improve the reporting. I have faith in the projections and analysis presented by Dr. Colley and the superintendent. It is unfortunate that the adjustments were still being made until recently but we hope to speed up the process in the future.

III. If you support the NPS’ vision and leadership, then I feel it is important to not slow the pace of investment that is being made. You should be encouraged by the recognition being given to our robotics and computer science teams, and by the individual scholastic awards and scholarships being given to many of our students. If you were able to attend the recent student forum, you would have been impressed by the enthusiasm, intellectual abilities and pride shown by the six student panelists from Rogers. This all is the result of the hard work by the teachers, students and the community, but also is a reflection of the funding it takes to keep the programs running.

IV. I understand the objective of the City of Newport is to create a world-class community, known not only for our tourist attractions, boating, restaurants, and scenic beauty, but also known for our advanced technology and innovation hub. We wish to attract companies and employees and educated young families to the community. And we wish to retain the young families that live here. To have this world-class city, we firmly believe that we must also have a worldclass educational system for the Newport children. We are trying to prepare our children for a world that is quickly changing and becoming more challenging. This effort will be recognized and attract the businesses and talent we are seeking. A strong city and a strong educational base go hand-in-hand. One Newport is asking for your support to keep the plans and vision moving forward.

Ken Nomiyama

US Senate Term Limits: Never

To the Editor:

Growing up in the State of Rhode Island made me wonder why such a diverse ethnic state populated by Irish, Italian, French and Portuguese and recently people of Latin origin never were elected to the U.S. Senate with one exception: Sen. John O. Pastore. He appointed himself while governor. For the most part, people referred to as Blue Bloods like Pell, Chafee, Whitehouse and such were always the choice of my ethnic brethren.

History tells us the founding fathers were Masons. They were not globalists in the present sense since they gave us the U.S. Constitution and the Bill of Rights. We all know that senatorial elections, who will run and who has the money, is a national decision and not necessarily a local one, especially in terms of funding. This being said, there are exceptions around the country. In Utah, we have people like Mitt Romney (globalist) running. Red or Blue state makes no difference.

I always wondered why the U.S. Congress never imposed term limits on themselves while insuring a president would never serve more then two terms. Now I understand. It was correct to term-limit the president because more than two terms could allow someone to usurp the power of the Senate and render them impotent. Our U.S. Senate, like the House of Lords in England, is Club 100. The U.S. House of Representatives, is made up of, in Senate terms, just a bunch of rabble and malcontents which turns over too quickly to really establish any power, other then spending decisions which has been neutered in recent presidents with continuing resolutions.

Republicans and Democrats alike in the Senate have grown fat with money. They leave office much more well to do then when they went in. This problem needs to be addressed, but how, I am not sure. The most recent six-month omnibus bill in which Senate Republicans pleaded that with a 60- vote requirement, by Senate rules, there was nothing they could do to require a more austere approach was a power play against the president to show him who is boss. Who makes the rules? They do. Most of all the U.S. Senate through numbers and leadership is the bipartisan home of U.S. globalism and the home of the real power in opposition to the wishes of the American people. That is why there will never be Senate term limits.

Bill Falcone

Volvo Race Village: Priceless Experience

To the Editor:

The Volvo Ocean Race provided a great platform for so much learning in the classroom! Students were so motivated and loved following the adventure. It was awesome to see so many organizations come together to provide hands-on activities in the Exploration Zone over at the Volvo Race Village. It'd be great if something like this were more permanent and could be utilized all year.

A special thank you to Matt Ginneo at Oldport Marine. Matt provided shuttle rides for all of the students at Thompson Middle School. Without his generosity, our kids would not have been able to visit the Volvo Race Village. For so many students it was their first time on a boat. The looks on their faces were priceless! Many claimed this to be their best field trip ever!

We'd also like to thank Donna Kelly, Newport teacher, and Kim Hapgood from Sail Newport for ensuring that Newport students had access to the village. It was such an enriching experience for all of our students!

It will be fun to follow the last few legs of the race!

Thompson Middle School

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