By Mike Donegan
This statement is my own and not that of the East Greenwich Town Council
Our schools are old. Our schools are VERY old. Our schools need work. Our schools need A LOT of work. Our Town is growing. Our classrooms are overcrowded. Our technology is dated. Our school safety must be improved. Our schools must comply with ever-increasing legal requirements to meet the changing needs of our students. Our children need and deserve more.
In this moment, our community has a wonderful opportunity before us to meet these needs when we vote to approve the bond referendum on Tuesday, Nov. 7, at Swift Community Center.
This project is vital to our children, our community and our property values. This is the right project at the right time. It is a modest proposal and we can afford it.
The lengthy and exhaustive statutory public process to assess needs and costs has been completed and our community will now vote on a referendum to approve $150m in bonds to meet the needs of our children and our community. I note that the State will be paying $82.5m of these costs, under the current incentive program ($30m of which will expire in June). While this is a big project, after the Town’s extensive and detailed financial analysis (vetted at Town Council meetings and available on the Town website), I believe that this is a modest proposal and one that we can afford.
Clearly, these necessary school projects cost money, but they have never been cheaper than they are today with the state offering in this moment to fund 55 percent of the costs (the state usually only funds 35 percent of those costs for East Greenwich). This additional and expiring 20 percent State subsidy has like communities across the State racing to obtain these additional funds. Indeed, the Providence Journal just ran a series of articles detailing this race. For a spending comparison, I note that Barrington’s referendum has their community approving $250m or $100m more than East Greenwich is proposing.
Please join me in seizing this opportunity to support a project that is vital to our children, our community and our property values. This is the right project at the right time. It is a modest proposal and we can afford it.
I look forward to seeing you Tuesday at Swift Community Center on Tuesday November 7, 2023 (open 7:00 AM – 8:00 PM)! You also can vote early on Monday at Town Hall from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Mike Donegan is a vice president of the East Greenwich Town Council.