By voting ‘Yes’ on Question 1 on Nov. 7, voters in Bristol and Warren will have a once-in-a-generation opportunity to bring BWRSD’s school buildings into the 21st century.
To the editor:
By voting ‘Yes’ on Question 1 on Nov. 7, voters in Bristol and Warren will have a once-in-a-generation opportunity to bring BWRSD’s school buildings into the 21st century. A ‘Yes’ vote will authorize the School District to borrow up to $200 million to fund the construction of a state-of-the-art high school and make long-delayed and much-needed improvements in school buildings across the district.
The time to approve this bond is now. The State of Rhode Island established a school construction program in 2018 that increases state reimbursement rates to communities for school building projects. That program expires next year. If we act now, the state will reimburse the district for up to 83% of project cost. Without the state matching program, that rate drops to 63% and so increases the burden on local property tax payers.
We know that modern school facilities correlate with improvements in test scores, attendance and student and teacher morale. We know that our middle and high school students need exposure to and access to 21st-century technology to acquire the knowledge and skills for success in today’s world.
And modern school facilities, along with our great faculty and staff, attract and retain young people and families that help maintain and enhance our strong communities.
We also know that the School Committee and the Building Committee have done careful, thoughtful, evidence-based work as they chose the site for the high school, developed the specifications for the new facility and prioritized improvements in the other buildings. This process was, and continues to be, transparent and inclusive. We’ve seen members of the School Committee at many community events, available to speak with residents about the details of the proposals, the timing of the project, and the impact of the bond on their property tax bills.
The students in Bristol and Warren deserve schools that are safe, comfortable and modern. The community deserves facilities that can be used by all, and that demonstrate our commitment to our kids. We will vote ‘Yes’ on Question 1 and urge your readers to do so as well.
Rep. Susan Donovan
Sen. Wally Felag
Rep. Jason Knight
Sen. Pam Lauria
Rep. June Speakman
Sen. Linda Ujifusa