Three Town Councils say “Vote YES for R.Y.S.E. School Project”

The following letter appeared in local newspapers and is reprinted here with permission of the authors Tom Gentz, Frank Landolfi, and Henry Oppenheimer. Mr. Gentz is President of the Charlestown Town Council, Mr. Landolfi is President of the Hopkinton Town Council, and Mr. Oppenheimer is President of the Richmond Town Council.


Supporting the R.Y.S.E. School building project is a financial “No Brainer” for Chariho taxpayers.

On November 8, 2016 Chariho residents should vote “Yes” on the R.Y.S.E. School building project.

Currently, Chariho pays $110,400 annually for the R.Y.S.E. School portable building lease. In 2017 that lease will expire and if a new leased building has to be secured due to a ‘no’ vote, that lease will cost in excess of $192,000 annually. At the end of the current and future lease periods, Chariho will not own a building but will have paid out over $4.0 M for the two lease periods. How does that make sense when a permanent building with a 50-year life expectancy will cost taxpayers much less?

The projected cost for the permanent R.Y.S.E. School building is $5.2 M. Because we are a regional school district, current law requires the State of Rhode Island to pay for 61% of the $5.2 M, leaving the Chariho taxpayers paying bond costs of $2.028 M plus 39% of the interest over the term of the bond.

Mandates for new construction require a 50-year life span, whereas the leased mobile classrooms have an estimated life span of ten years. Over 50 years, the mobile classrooms would cost Chariho taxpayers $192,000 x 50 or $9.6M (without inflation). At the end of fifty years, the difference between the permanent and equitable facilities and the temporary patch is $7.572M. Although Chariho may find the permanent building in need of some repair, the district will have a valuable building asset.

In addition to the financial savings to Chariho taxpayers, here are some equally, if not more, important items to consider. Current portable and temporary buildings do not meet the needs of R.Y.S.E. School students and teachers:

  • The current portable buildings have been stretched well beyond their useful lives to a whopping 15 years.
  • The current buildings are bolted together and are deteriorating.
  • Heating systems do not work properly.
  • Lighting is insufficient throughout the building.
  • Walls are damaged due to water leaks.
  • The building is not compliant with the Americans with Disability Act.

In summary, the R.Y.S.E. School students deserve better and equitable facilities, such as a gymnasium, cafeteria, and science labs, even if the financial considerations for portable buildings were the same as or less than a permanent building. With this project, our students get the school they deserve, and taxpayers get a great financial deal.

All three Town Councils voted unanimously in favor of the R.Y.S.E. School building project. Each Chariho town must approve the R.Y.S.E. School building project or Chariho will have to replace the existing trailers with new ones at a large financial cost to Chariho taxpayers.

Please vote “Yes” on the R.Y.S.E. School building project on November 8, 2016.

Sincerely,

Tom Gentz, President, Charlestown Town Council

Frank Landolfi, President, Hopkinton Town Council

Henry Oppenheimer, President, Richmond Town Council