Dear friends,

I want to make you aware of an exciting opportunity that can have a significant and positive impact on our community now and for years to come.

The State of Rhode Island is introducing a bond which would provide cities and towns with access to needed funds for school improvements. The biggest advantage is that Cumberland is eligible for up to $83 million worth of renovations and improvements to our schools with the town being responsible for just 35% of the total cost. It has been called a “once in a generation” opportunity.

The money can be used for state of the art science, technology, and engineering labs. It can be used for art rooms, auditoriums, facility upgrades such as electrical and HVAC systems and much more.

The bond includes incentives that could boost Cumberland’s state reimbursement rate for school construction from the current 45% reimbursement rate in fiscal 2019 to approximately 65% of the $83 million.  With the 65% reimbursement, Cumberland taxpayers would be responsible for $29 million of the $83 million worth of renovations and improvements. These renovations and improvements would take place over several years.

Additional areas of focus include safety and security upgrades in every school, renovations to kindergarten classrooms across the district, additions to cafeterias to decrease overcrowding, and much needed upgrades to conform with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).

This ‘once-in-a-generation’ opportunity for Cumberland really is a win-win for our entire community. Addressing needed facility issues is a major priority for us. While the town has made significant progress in recent years, this measure will allow us to address remaining facility needs and create 21st Century learning opportunities for our students.

Our legislative delegation supports the state and local bonds. The mayor and the mayor elect are in support of this initiative. Both the Town Council and the School Committee have unanimously passed resolutions in support of the bond referendum. Our legislative delegation is to be commended for their effort. The bonds will be put before residents this November. School and town officials are urging residents to vote ‘yes’ on both the State of RI bond for school improvements, as well as the local question on bonds for Cumberland schools.

To learn more about the bonds and Cumberland’s opportunity, please join us at a public forum at Cumberland High School on Wednesday, Oct. 17th at 7 p.m.

On behalf of our school committee, our staff, and our students, I urge you to vote yes for our schools.