Plowing forward –no matter what?!

by Tara Schold

  • Town Manager (Spring 2019)-The town can not afford to bond over $90 million without it affecting future ability to bond and at that amount it can not be done by bond only. We need significant operational savings. We have to close additional schools; but LET’S KEEP PLOWING FORWARD!
  • Rhode Island Department of Education Overturned Stage 2 facility plan that would have seen significant upgrades and renovations to approximately 75% of current high school building including removing automotive shop building, opening back parking lot driveway; but LET’S KEEP PLOWING FORWARD!
  • New Superintendent unfamiliar with the district and without any community input, have a secret meeting with select number of hand-picked people, determine Curtis Corner Middle School should become the high school, even after two different School Committees deemed it unfeasible and cost prohibitive; but LET’S KEEP PLOWING FORWARD!
  • Curtis Corner Middle School structure was deemed the worst facility in the district inventory; but LET’S KEEP PLOWING FORWARD!
  • The current 240,500 square foot high school on Columbia Street, and highest ranked school facility in the district inventory, will be left abandoned with little to no real estate or redevelopment value. Walkability to access internships and after school jobs will be lost for our students. The current high school anchors Main Street businesses and closure would impact business revenues; but LET’S KEEP PLOWING FORWARD!
  • Members of the Town Council, previous Building Committee members, community members with historical knowledge of the water, ledge and integrity of the Curtis Corner Building, South Kingstown residents speak up about their concerns and voice that this relocation is not a good idea; but LET’S KEEP PLOWING FORWARD!
  • Curtis Corner will NOT become a “new” school, the building is only getting an addition (spaces which our current high school already has) and coat of paint in all other areas, in the words of the Town Manager. There is to be an addition at Broad Rock Middle School and minimal work, if at all, at elementary schools; but LET’S KEEP PLOWING FORWARD!
  • Current Administration Building will be demolished for a parking lot and South Road School will be renovated to serve as District Administration offices. The CMMS bathrooms will remain untouched at Curtis Corner property (our “new” high school); but LET’S KEEP PLOWING FORWARD!
  • State reimbursement level will not be determined until after work is completed and there is absolutely no guarantee that our district would receive the bonus reimbursements; but LET’S KEEP PLOWING FORWARD!
  • Pandemic hits and Governor Raimondo repeatedly talks of devastating state budget issues. Thousands are unemployed; small businesses see significant loses. We have layoffs at RIC and CCRI, and other State layoffs are likely coming. No commitment as of yet from the state on school funding. Possible increased restrictions or lock down looming; but LET’S KEEP PLOWING FORWARD!
  • The owner of the architectural firm RGB, the author of the Stage 2 plan and the person saying “yes” Curtis Corner Middle School can be the high school has been indicted by a federal grand jury on bribery and bribery conspiracy; but LET’S KEEP PLOWING FORWARD!

This plan will cost homes assessed at $350,000 about $250 a year for the next 20-25 years. And by borrowing to our maximum, the town is prevented from future borrowing for any other projects.

Where will additional funds come from to complete work that will be left undone with this facility plan?

Be on the lookout for the $47,000 public relations pitch that the School Committee approved to sell you this plan coming via postcard to your mailbox.

There will be a link to a survey and a community summit held on November 3oth.

You can email the Town Council at The Town Council ultimately will be deciding to approve and submit the plan to the Rhode Island Department of Education.

Maybe this is the time the town, Superintendent and School Building Committee should pause, look back to see what and who they have already plowed over.

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