During a school-wide vote last week, students overwhelmingly supported the idea of regionalization with Newport. #MiddletownRI
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MIDDLETOWN HIGH SCHOOL STUDENTS
SAY “YES” TO REGIONALIZATION
MIDDLETOWN, R.I. (OCTOBER 31, 2022) – If students at Middletown High have any say, school regionalization with Newport should be approved.
During a school-wide mock election last Friday, students at the Valley Road school overwhelmingly supported the concept, with 243 voting in favor and 144 against.
One of a number activities organized at the school leading up to Election Day, the event was organized by social studies teachers Jennifer Haskell and Lauren Marx. A similar poll is expected to be conducted at Rogers High School this week.
“I can’t vote in this election, but if I could, I definitely would and I’d vote for regionalization,” senior Matthew Stallman said. “We know so many of the kids from Rogers — and Portsmouth — already and play sports with them, so it just makes sense.”
“I feel it should be approved,” Chris Synnott said just before casting his vote through his phone, with friend and fellow senior Daniel Bowley looking on. “We’ve been talking about it here and there and most people I know support it.”
Haskell and Marx said similar mock election was run in 2020 during the last Presidential election.
Like this year’s election to make sure every student had one vote, students were asked to scan a QR code with their smartphones tied to their student ID. That way, students could have their say, but not more than once, just like the real thing.
Leading up to the big day, a forum was held last week for students in the school’s Common Learning Room behind the main office. There, the pros and cons of the proposal were discussed and students were encouraged to ask questions.
An informational kiosk was also created in the school’s front lobby, where students were encouraged to get involved in the process.
The full text of the two questions accessed through the QR code were also posted, like the ballot before Middletown voters on Nov. 8.
They were Question 1 on the race for governor between Republican Ashley Kalus versus incumbent Governor Dan McKee. McKee won that race easily among MHS students by a 257-129 mark.
The second question was about regionalization. It read specifically “No. 4 — The City of Newport and the Town of Middletown To Establish A Regional School District And Providing For State Aid” — Approve Or Reject.”
Haskell and Marx said the informational forum and kiosk would allow students to get the facts, mull their thoughts and hopefully promote discussion — both in school and at home.
“We want them to know their voice matters,” Marx said. “Unfortunately, we don’t have a civics program here, so we cover these important issues in our classrooms as much as we can so students have an informed opinion about the world around them.”
“When it comes down to it, we’re trying to connect what’s happening in their lives to what they’re learning in school as much as possible,” Haskell said. “We want them to see how the process works and what it feels like to vote, knowing that there’s quite a bit of interest in the community to hear what (the students) have to say.”
On Nov. 8, Middletown and Newport voters are being asked to support ballot questions to create a new regional school district. In Middletown, voters are also being called on to support a $235 million bond to build three new schools, 80.5 percent of the cost which will be reimbursed by the state. That equals about a dollar a day for the average Middletown homeowner.
Proponents have said the project will add millions of dollars into classrooms in each community and drive better student achievement while striving to make the joint school district one of the best in Rhode Island.
If either Question 4 or 5 fail in Middletown or Question 5 in Newport doesn’t pass, the entire proposal won’t succeed. For more information, visit the Regionalization and Shares links online.
Following Friday’s festivities, each student who participated received a patriotic red, white and blue “I Voted Today” sticker to sport proudly for the rest of the day.
“I’ve heard about regionalization and I think it’s good,” sophomore Kenny Maramba said. “We do so much with (students from) Rogers already, so why not?”
Document Link: https://www.middletownri.com/DocumentCenter/View/6042/NYCU-Mock-Election