Newport This Week

Let’s Give Birth to School Regionalization

To the Editor:

My two children were educated in both Newport and Middletown, and my four grandchildren currently attend Middletown public schools.

It’s past time for Newport and Middletown to join hands and enter into a marriage based on mutual understanding and trust. Together we can give birth to school regionalization for the benefit of students from both communities.

Granted, the labor may be a bit painful at the outset. However, hard work by a new forward-thinking joint district school committee and a school administration devoted to making regionalization a success will ensure that the potential benefits venture, both educationally and financially, are realized.

Am I hopeful? Yes, very optimistic. Why? Let’s begin by examining the potential educational benefits for students of both Newport and Middletown, some of which will begin on day one.

It is the conclusion of many experienced state educators, along with the Rhode Island Department of Education (RIDE) and its consultants, who, after a recent study of Newport and Middletown schools, have found that school regionalization will bring about the following benefits:

• Expanded educational opportunities by offering more and improved STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Math), CTE (Career and Technical Education) and AP (Advanced Placement) courses leading to enhanced honors/college preparatory pathways as well as more internships with community partners;

• More and improved special education and ELL (English Language Learning) offerings;

• A unified pre-kindergarten program;

• The exploration of options leading to a unified middle school system; and

• Substantial financial benefits in more state reimbursements for new school buildings (including Rogers) and in-district busing, along with savings in operational and administrative functions.

For more information on school regionalization, visit middletown newport.us.

We cannot afford to wait any longer for school regionalization. I urge you to vote YES on this issue in Newport and Middletown on Nov. 8 or in early voting.

Remember, in Middletown you must vote for two referendums to ensure passage of school regionalization: the school bond and the regionalization question.

Our students, many of whom are currently involved in joint educational and sporting activities, should not have to wait any longer for the adults to put past feelings aside and move forward to initiate this momentous island educational venture.

Ron Héroux Middletown

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