Talking points

Citizens Exploring School Unification (CESU)

Our Vision: To explore, define and consider potential educational, extracurricular and financial benefits of Middletown and Newport school unification.

Our Organization: CESU was formed shortly after the Middletown Town Council declined to discuss or consider unification of Rogers and Middletown High Schools.

· We are a group of Middletown and Newport citizens who think the Council’s decision was short-sighted and condemns our students to a small school of very limited educational opportunities for the foreseeable future.

It’s All About the Kids: We think that to arbitrarily limit our students’ educational horizons without considering the opportunities offered by unification of these two small schools housed in 60-year-old building is a dereliction of public duty and responsibility.

· We believe that the status quo is not good enough and reflects a failure of imagination and an inability to recognize the possibilities of a unified high school

What You Can Do to Help: We ask you to join us by signing a petition to the Middletown Council asking for reconsideration of their short-sighted decision.

The Schedule: We expect to submit the petition to the Council in October 2019.

1. In the event the Middletown Council declines to act on our petition, we ask that you help us to gather the signatures of Middletown voters to send a Voter Initiative Petition to the Council which will result in a 2020 election ballot referendum.

2. To meet the requirements of Rhode Island Law we will need to submit the Voter Initiative Petition to the Middletown Town Clerk by May 2020 with a minimum of 1,200 Middletown registered voter signatures.

 

A grass-roots group formed to promote discussion of school consolidation. 


We are:

· Asking for your input

· And your support

· Working to explore unification issues

· Working to develop the political will to confront the realities of old schools with declining school populations

· Vote his conscience as he represents YOU

· We may not always agree, but we can work together to craft common sense solutions to our common problems


To explore, define and consider potential educational, extracurricular and financial benefits of Middletown and Newport school unification.


Please send your suggestions, ideas, and links to information to us here  info@cesu.news  


We will review and approve, then publish all relevant news, information and ideas that you have on this topic. Do you know of success stories or studies, research on this topic? Share it with us! 

The Middletown Council’s email address is: towncouncil@middletownri.com.


Talking and Writing points to consider are: (Numbering is for reference only)

1. Legacy: Do we really want to bequeath to the next generation two high schools within 5 miles of each other with student populations of less than 600 students? This prospect should assault your common sense!

2. Course Offerings: A high school needs about 1,200 – 2,000 students to create the critical mass needed for successful course offerings of languages, AP, career and Technical training.

3. Critical Size: A 600 student school will never be able to offer more than a minimum number and diversity of course offerings. We will deprive students of the opportunity to challenge themselves and prepare for college.

4. Diversity and Innovation: Diversity is a promoter and enabler of innovation. Numerous studies have demonstrated that innovation is enhanced and enabled by diversity.

5. Diversity and Understanding: A high school of 600 students cannot offer a significant opportunity for students to work and cooperate with students of different ethnic, racial and socio-economic backgrounds.

6. Cooperative Opportunities: Our students need to work cooperatively with students with different life-experiences to enable them to understand how to successfully work in today’s diverse environment.

7. Career and Technical Education: The Newport Area Career and Technical Center offers superb career training and education, but it requires a substantial contribution by the Middletown School System for a Middletown student to participate. Consolidation would eliminate this contribution and encourage Middletown participation.

8. Financial: We have a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to build a state-of-the art high school with 80.5% of the cost paid by state funds.

9. Financial: The costs per student will rise as student population declines. Our taxpayers should not be asked to shoulder the increasing costs per student when a viable alternative exists.

10. Unification and Cooperation is Here, Now: Our students already understand the benefits of unification. We already have unified hockey, lacrosse and soccer teams and a unified Senior theatrical production.

11. We Were Once Unified: Rogers High School was once the only high school on Aquidneck Island. Unification worked then, it can do so again.

12. Building on Previous Work: During 2013 an ad hoc committee of Middletown and Newport School Committee members, Town Councilors and other concerned citizens worked to understand the high school consolidation process, to define the problems to be resolved, and decisions needed. This work was captured in a draft Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the two municipalities.


The MOU was not submitted to or approved by the Middletown or Newport Councils. The draft MOU was based on similar documents from other successful high school unification's.


A guiding principal was that neither Middletown nor Newport are preeminent but have equal standing in all Unified High School matters. The draft MOU included:


I. DISTRICT SCHOOL COMMITTEE MEMBERSHIP

Newport County Unified High School District School Committee – Equal Representation

Newport County Unified High School District School Committee - Terms of Office

Enrollment Review – Student Counts

Committee Vacancies – Replacement

II. LOCATION – In Middletown

III. TYPE OF REGIONAL SCHOOL DISTRICT – Grades 9 through 12

IV. METHOD OF APPORTIONING COSTS OF THE DISTRICT – On student population

V. PAYMENTS TO THE DISTRICT TREASURER – Process and Payments Schedule

VI. TRANSPORTATION – Separately contracted

VII. ADMISSION OF ADDITIONAL MUNICIPALITIES – Terms and Conditions

Construction Costs Apportionment

Payments to Municipalities

Rhode Island Department of Education Approval

VIII. WITHDRAWAL OF MEMBER MUNICIPALITY

Voter Approval to Withdraw

Newport County Unified High School Committee - Response to Withdrawal Request

Arbitration and Municipal Council Action

Unified High School Committee Action on Approved Withdrawal

Two Year Delay Between Requests to Withdraw and Buy-Out Arrangements

Replacement Cost of Debt and Facilities

IX. ANNUAL REPORT

X. BUDGET – Submitted to Municipal Councils

XI. ASSIGNMENT OF STUDENTS – Pre-kindergarten through eighth grade unchanged

XII. POWERS AND DUTIES OF THE COMMITTEE– As provided in RIGL

Eminent Domaine was specifically not authorized for the Unified High School Committee

XIII. ORGANIZATION OF THE COMMITTEE

XIV. AMENDMENTS

Memorandum of Agreement Review and Amendment Process – Unified HS Committee and Member municipalities approval required

Rights of Bond Holders

XV. INCURRING OF INDEBTEDNESS

Approval – voter referendums

New-Construction Debt – based on student enrollment

Capital Improvements

Member Municipality Share of Student Enrollment

XVI. CAPITAL EXPENDITURES FROM SURPLUS

XVII. LEASE OF SCHOOLS – Agreement with municipalities

XVIII. PROFESSIONAL STAFF/PERSONNEL – Pay and benefits consolidation, Save-Pay provisions

XIX. MOU EFFECTIVE DATE AND JURISDICTION


If you have questions, comments or suggestions, please call Dick Adams at 401 965-3956 or email at rpadams423@aol.com 

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