It was barely a month ago that supporters of the school facility bond were enthusiastically touting the benefits of the plan. They wanted everyone to know about the great newish high school, the reimagined elementary schools, and all the savings from “taking square footage offline”. Since the plan has shown its true colors, the only arguments we seem to hear now are about how “it’s this or nothing” or “we’re voting for the bond, not the plan”, or “if we don’t do this, someone else will get OUR money”. It’s really pretty sad. If you believe in a plan, be proud and support it.
We’re often asked for an alternate plan if this one fails. We agree it would be great if the community had a choice. That’s what community involvement and authentic interaction would have produced. It would have produced a choice. We could have decided collectively which path to walk. Instead, leadership plowed ahead with a flawed idea and here we are.
Over 900 concerned citizens signed our petition. The concerns of which have been cited by RIDE as needing answers before they make a decision. After 3 years and 2 submitted applications, our architects still miss basic details. Our leadership fails to ask important questions and when the community steps in, we are blamed for trying to sabotage the district.
So, what happens if this bond fails? What happens is we come together for real community conversations and come up with a plan that likely won’t have unanimous support, but will have been born of an open, honest process that respects everyone’s views, even those who don’t get what they want. We will approach this project with seriousness and understanding, and we will build consensus before we build a blueprint, not the other way around.
May 4 is the beginning, not the end, of this journey. We hope you will join us and STOP THIS PLAN by voting to reject the bond. Then please come to the table with us and bring your hopes, dreams, and ideas. The last several years have been tough for all of us. It’s time for South Kingstown to heal. We can do it together.
Paula Bradley & Tara Schold
South Kingstown Residents and Parents