The South Kingstown facility plan, as currently constructed, presents unacceptable risks and should be rejected. After rejection, we should reconvene as a community and work together to construct a better plan. For the second time, RIDE has made clear that they intend to reduce the total project allowance to be reimbursed, yet our school and town leaders continue to push the fanciful narrative that we are likely to receive 50% reimbursement of the full project cost. Among other complaints, RIDE explicitly stated that they would proportionately reduce their approved amount because of inflated profit, soft costs, and violations of RIDE space per student standards. The town will be on the hook for 100% of costs above what RIDE accepts. For this reason, RIDE recommends holding a bond referendum only after they complete their review and provide a final approval. South Kingstown will not receive this approval until after the vote is conducted on May 4th. In addition to financial risks, this project also runs the severe risk of leaving our high school students in a mostly un-renovated building (Curtis Corner). As currently planned, about 40% of the existing CCMS structure will not be touched, and that percentage will rise when our cost estimates prove to be unrealistic. The estimates in our stage 2 application are about 15% below RIDE's cost per square foot recommendations. The result will be about $13M in cost overruns, not even considering the abnormal increase in construction costs predicted to occur over the next several years. It's very likely that little of the existing Curtis Corner building will be touched.
The additional incentives available for this project are less than the likely cost overruns, even if RIDE approves the full project, which is unlikely at best. The $250M state bond for school construction, which provides up-front financing regardless of whether a project qualifies for bonus aid, will be available even if we pass on this plan. The Jacobs Report (2017) identified areas of concern for our school buildings. This plan as constructed leaves nearly $30M of their recommendations (mostly at the elementary schools) unaddressed. It's very likely that in the near future, the schools will be seeking a second bond to cover these unmet needs as well as the additional work needed at Curtis Corner. We have learned a lot about this process over the past 5 years. I'm confident we can come together and build a plan that works for the students and the town. The first step is to vote no on May 4th. Visit www.stopthisplan.com for more information
South Kingstown Resident and Parent