LETTERS TO THE EDITOR – Be an informed voter

The Newport Daily News | Page A07Tuesday, 2 October 2018

As we’ve seen in the past week, the old shibboleth “Elections have consequences” holds true.

We are now less than six weeks before the elections on Nov. 6. According to a recent Pew Survey, voter enthusiasm is at its highest level for any midterm election in more than two decades.

The enthusiasm that holds for the national elections should translate to the local level. This is certainly a positive sign, but will voters in Newport be as knowledgeable of critical local issues as those at the national level?

To assist Newport voters to learn more about their candidates and make informed decisions for whom to vote, the nonpartisan Alliance for a Livable Newport has been conducting public candidate forums since 2010. Prior to the forums, questionnaires are sent to all local candidates. This year, all 21 candidates in contested elections for Newport City Council and School Committee have posted their responses to the questions submitted by the community and ALN. The alliance encourages all Newport citizens to read the responses at NewportAlliance.org.

In addition to reviewing the written responses, citizens are encouraged to attend the three public forums in October where the candidates will address additional questions in person.

The schedule is School Committee candidates:

Tuesday, Oct. 16, 6-7:30 p.m., Pell Elementary School auditorium.

At-large City Council candidates: Thursday, Oct. 18, 6-7:30 p.m.,Newport City Hall.

First and Second Ward City Council candidates: Tuesday, Oct. 23, 6-7:30 p.m., Newport City Hall.

This is a pivotal election for Newport. Our newly elected City Council and School Committee will be dealing with critical issues affecting all of Newport, including the development of the North End, the bridge ramps re-alignment, parking, taxes, short-term rentals, etc. Likewise, the new School Committee must contend with the overcrowding at Pell, the repairs or replacement of Rogers High School, academic performance, finances and other significant issues.

The final day to register to vote is Sunday. To do so, visit http://vote.sos.ri.gov.

John Hirschboeck, co-president,Alliance for a Livable Newport

June Survey Statistics, Results, Graph and Charts

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Survey Report: June 2013
VIEWED

 404
STARTED

 262
COMPLETED

 121
COMPLETION RATE

 46%
DROP OUTS

 141
TIME TO COMPLETE

 4 mins
 “The city could save half a million dollars.” We heard this first from Harry Winthrop at an ALN forum in April. Now we have Naomi Neville’s comments in the Newport Daily News’ Guest View column of 5/28/13 making a clear case for combining School Committee and city resources in managing finances and other administrative services for the schools. Do you think this would this be a good idea?
Yes : 61.47%No : 11.01%Maybe : 27.52%
Answer Count Percent
20% 40% 60% 80% 100%
1. Yes 134 61.47%
2. No 24 11.01%
3. Maybe 60 27.52%
Total 218 100%
Mean: 1.661
Confidence Interval @ 95%: [1.543 – 1.778]
Standard Deviation: 0.882
Standard Error: 0.060
 The summer season has begun! In spite of the fact that Newport has ordinances in many neighborhoods prohibiting rentals of less than a month, there is a growing “underground” business in Newport rentals of a week or less operated by individual homeowners. Are you in favor of short-term rentals in most of Newport’s neighborhoods?
Answer Count Percent
20% 40% 60% 80% 100%
1. Yes 82 38.86%
2. No 83 39.34%
3. Maybe 46 21.80%
Total 211 100%
Mean: 1.829
Confidence Interval @ 95%: [1.727 – 1.932]
Standard Deviation: 0.762
Standard Error: 0.052
 It has been suggested by a City Council member that property taxpayers whose legal residence is in Newport receive a discount on their taxes. Opponents argue that such an arrangement would discourage second home ownership in Newport, which has been a financial boon to the city.   Do you favor a two-tier property tax system?
Answer Count Percent
20% 40% 60% 80% 100%
1. Yes 82 40.59%
2. No 88 43.56%
3. Maybe 32 15.84%
Total 202 100%
Mean: 1.752
Confidence Interval @ 95%: [1.654 – 1.851]
Standard Deviation: 0.711
Standard Error: 0.050

Newport Councilor Claims Superintendent Violated State Law

Newport City Councilor Michael Farley said a $750,000 shortfall in the 2012-13 school budget should had been reported within five days after it was discovered.

By Olga Enger Email the author June 4, 2013

After a budget meeting with members of the Newport City Council and School Committee Thursday, Councilor Michael Farley said a $745,000 school budget shortfall came to light that should had been previously reported.

“The school committee had a legal obligation to notify the council of all shortfalls within five days of discovery of this and all other budget shortfalls,” said Farley.

At the meeting, Superintendent Jack Ambrogi said because a business manager did not appropriately allocate funds, there was a $600,00 shortfall for tuition and a $145,000 shortfall for bus monitors.

“We already put a freeze on the budget back in March because we knew that there were issues,” said Ambrogi. “We already said that we weren’t going to spend any of that capital improvement money this year because we knew there were issues.”

In response, Farley made seven requests to the School Committee for supporting documentation under the Freedom of Information Act and the Rhode Island Access to Public Records Act.

“It is important to me that we begin to develop trust between our two bodies, but I am not comfortable concealing Mr. Ambrogi’s violation of law,” he said. “Now that we are aware that Mr. Ambrogi is willing to violate Rhode Island law, we must recognize that he does not belong in a position of authority.”

To see Farley’s request, click the PDF to the right of the article.

 

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Open House Sheds Light, Reveals Rifts

http://www.newport-now.com/news/open-house-sheds-light%2C-reveals-rifts/

By Tom Shevlin, April 19, 2013 Newport This Week (Newport-Now.com) 

NEWPORT – School lunches, budgets, the search for a new superintendent, what to do about excess elementary schools, a push for a new parking garage, the redevelopment of the North End, a proposal to require Newport residents to pay as they throw, and the seemingly ever present issue of trust between the city’s top two elected bodies.

They were all topics of conversation on Tuesday when the Alliance for a Livable Newport hosted what it called an open house to discuss citywide issues with members of the School Committee and City Council.

The roughly hour-long session, which drew about two dozen members of the public to the downstairs meeting room of the Newport Public Library, began with a series of questions related to the city’s public schools.

Taking primacy were two lines of questioning: the first seeking clarification regarding the search for a new superintendent, and a second addressing the continued struggles of Rogers High School students on the New England Common Assessment Program, or NECAP, test.

Representing the School Committee were Chairman Dr. Charles Shoemaker and Vice Chair Jo Eva Gaines.

According to Gaines, in finding the city’s next superintendent, a search committee made up of 9-11 parents, students, public officials, members of the school support staff, teachers, and administrators will soon be constituted and a total of five focus groups will be convened.

The aim, she said, is to be as inclusive as possible and reach out into the community to gauge their top priorities.

The search is set to begin in earnest next month, and those interested in participating in the process should look for further updates in the weeks to come.

As for the department’s efforts to boost the city’s flailing test scores, Shoemaker acknowledged that there is room for improvement.

Gaines agreed. Especially as it relates to the high school level where under 30 percent of students tested proficient in math skills, she said that there is room for improvement.

“Math is a problem,” Shoemaker said. “There’s no question about it. It’s not just Newport. It’s across the whole state, and it’s true in a number of other public schools across the country. Lots of people have lots of theories about why that’s occurring. Yes, we have a problem with the kids in 11th grade, as does every other school across the state,” he said. “The good news is that if you look at the 8th graders, they’ve really made some significant gains and I anticipate that those kids who are graduating from the 8th grade will have a much better head start than those kids in high school.”

Gaines agreed. “The state, the commissioner, is very much interested in growth,” Gaines said, adding that so long as those students who did not test proficient in math or reading show improvement in their senior year, they will be issued diplomas.

But, she noted, many will still not be proficient. “And that’s sad,” she said.

Also unfortunate is the persistent friction that seems to exist between the School Committee and their counterparts on the City Council.

When asked if they were open to school’s finance department being absorbed by City Hall, both Gaines and Shoemaker were wary.

“If the city can get the federal government and the state government to give figures in a way that we can’t, then I would welcome them taking it over,” said Gaines in explaining why the committee has in recent years failed to provide a concrete number prior to the city adopting its own fiscal year budget. “We don’t get the information from the federal government, therefore we can’t do anything with it.”

Shoemaker reiterated that point, noting that while two months ago, the department was anticipating running a surplus, today, he said, “We think that we’re in a slight deficit situation.”

That seemed to take Newport Mayor Henry F. Winthrop, who was representing the council along with Vice Mayor Naomi Neville, off-guard.

Saying that while he has the “utmost respect” for Gaines and Shoemaker, he added, “I don’t have that same respect for the development of the budget process through your administration.”

According to Winthrop, “Budgets are nothing but a series of forecasts about where you’re going to be either at the beginning or the end of the year. And a good accountant will know, not exactly, what it’s going to take to run that department.”

Still, relying on three sources of funding – state, federal, and local –Shoemaker said that there are simply too many unknowns for the committee to provide the city with an accurate forecast in advance of the city’s annual budget process.

Winthrop, however, persisted.

“The fact of the matter is, from an accounting standpoint, we as a council have a fiduciary responsibility to ensure to the taxpayers that we fund you adequately but that we do not over fund you. Without your budget forecast we have no idea how much to allocate.” As a result, the council has opted to simply level-fund the department – a point of contention which has drawn protest from members of the School Committee in recent years.

Adding that he currently has a proposed budget from Middletown’s School Committee on his desk at City Hall, Winthrop concluded his remarks by suggesting that the city not stop at absorbing the school department’s finance office.

“I don’t think that’s the only thing we should take over,” he said. “I also think that we should take over HR administration and we should also take over the maintenance of the buildings and grounds, and let the School Committee focus on what they were elected to do: and that’s educational excellence.”

He continued, “We have a professional staff. We do it, I think, much better than the School Department and we should be allowed to do that for the whole town. I would estimate – and this is just a Harry Winthrop number – that we could save a half a million dollars or more if we were allowed to take over those functions.”

Gaines responded with a familiar, yet broader concern.

“At the bottom of all of this is the big word of trust,” she said. “There is hardly any trust between the School Committee and the City Council. And I say that with all do respect to the council… But as a body, it’s very hard to trust that they’re going to do what’s right for the kids.”

She added, “If we are taken over by the City Council, what is the priority of education in Newport. Are we going to be…second in consideration if a street has to be paved?”

For the past couple of years, School Committee member Sandra Flowers has attended the monthly meetings of the School Committee-City Council Liaison Subcommittee.

“It seems that the agenda never has to be rewritten,” she said. From combining simple functions such as maintenance and groundskeeping operations to restructuring the finance department, the proposals haven’t changed much.

Especially as it relates to groundskeeping, she noted, “That’s been talked about for a couple of years now.” Why, she wondered, couldn’t the city just “jump in and do it.”

There were no answers readily presented during the meeting except for an acknowledgement that the relationship between the two bodies needs to be improved.

That seemed to be underscored when the topic turned toward the proposed establishment of a new charter school in town.

Winthrop, in voicing his support for the concept, noted that he would not be opposed to spending more if it meant that Newport’s school children received a better education.

Shifting to more concrete matters, both Winthrop and Neville expressed their enthusiasm for efforts underway to redevelop the city’s North End.

Long a source of public interest, improving the area north of the Pell Bridge has been a frequent topic of discussion over the years. But as Winthrop noted, there seems to be some real momentum behind recent efforts.

In the coming weeks, a new North End Redevelopment commission will begin their work to determine how best to bring about change to the area.

“There have been a lot of plans that have been developed,” over the years, Winthrop said. And over the coming months, “many of those will be pulled out, dusted off, and looked over and see if they’re still applicable today.”

Citing a number of factors including the state’s commitment to reconfigure the Pell Bridge interchange as well as the ongoing efforts led by the Aquidneck Island Planning Commission to secure the former Navy Hospital property, Winthrop said that he sees reason for optimism when it comes to the North End.

Meanwhile, Councilwoman Neville noted that movement is also being seen in the city’s efforts to redevelop the former Navy Hospital property through the Aquidneck Island Planning Commission, with a final report on its potential best uses expected back on the property within the next few months.

Also on the city side, attention was briefly paid to the prospect of the council adopting a pay as you throw trash system, which is currently being examined by city staff.

Winthrop was straightforward in his response.

“The proposal before us is really just that today, a proposal,” he said. “Until I can be convinced that it’s a good thing, I am opposed to pay-as-you-throw. I don’t think it fits in Newport, even if economically it works. It doesn’t fit in Newport because of the transient population we have – especially in the summer.”

Neville held a slightly different view.

“At this point, I’d say that I’m more neutral to the idea,” she said, noting that she’s willing to reserve her final assessment until after the various proposals are brought before the council.

Further discussion was also held related to the possibility of constructing a downtown parking garage to help ease the city’s perpetual parking pinch.

While Winthrop didn’t necessarily seem keen on looking at developing a new garage structure in town, he was eager to see plans developed that would relocate the Gateway Center out of the downtown area and in tandem develop a new multi-modal transportation center that would provide parking and public transit for visitors coming to downtown.

As for repurposing the city’s soon-to-be-vacant elementary schools, Gaines said that she’s ready willing and able to do whatever needs to be done to get those schools into the city’s hands and on the market.

But when it comes to what to do with the proceeds from the buildings, a divide was again revealed, as Shoemaker said that he believes the money should go toward maintaining existing school facilities, while Winthrop countered by saying that the funds should be directed to the city’s general fund and allocated to the school department as needed.

The meeting ended with a brief exchange with audience and School Committee member Robert Leary, who suggested that the city be proactive in bargaining with its municipal and school retirees to restructure their post employment benefit plans.

As Leary noted, in recent weeks, both Providence and Cranston have done just that, and achieved significant savings that have helped shore up their long-term finances.

Leary proposed the idea of engaging retirees on the school side last year, but was rebuffed.

Winthrop said that he thinks such a strategy could be a good idea.

Comments (13)

Comment Feed

Response to” Ace”

Obviously as I stated previously, all public school teachers are in the state’s retirement system. The only thing the city or town is responsible for to its teacher retirees is the OPEC, that would be health care, etc. This varies greatly from town to town.Oh , by the way Newport was, to my knowledge,the only one to give Life Blue Cross in 1998 . In fact, I believe, we may be the only one or at least one of the very few cities or towns that gave it’s teachers Life Blue Cross.

When I spoke of Cranston and Providence I spoke mainly of the cities employees. Providence was in over $100,000,000 deficit and the current mayor involved them and did other things to stay afloat. What happened in Central Falls was on the door step. However, you might want to check with them on any OPEC savings from the teachers.

I believe, the Newport City Council and the Newport School Committee should invite the retirees to the table together. Lets involving them in the conversation. Providence and Cranston had success with this.

The Newport School Committee pays almost $4,000,000 for retirees health care. That is almost $1,500,000 more than active employees.

The unfunded liability payment the City of Newport makes varies from year to year. This year they are requesting $1,900,000 for retirees .That is almost a 3% tax raise just for retirees.At some point the city can’t afford this payment and get anything else done then you going have do something. Lets involve the retirees in the solution, lets not wait until to late.

Robert J Leary 8 days ago | reply

Response to Mr. Leary’s comment

It took a while but I finally contacted the leadership of Cranston and Providence retired teachers. Under no circumstances did EITHER group have discussions that led to ANY change in their retirement. How Mr. Leary can state that both communities have had success involving its retirees is obviously incorrect. I challenge Mr. Leary to provide the evidence that would substantiate the fact that the present retired teachers from Providence and/or Cranston gave up anything in their retirement benefits. They both lost their COLA’s—as did Newport and all other participants in the ERSRI—but that was NOT due to talks between the respective committees and the local retirees. Put up—-or shut up!

Ace 10 days ago | reply

response to question posed

Let me answer the questions posed.

What 120 of the 200 teachers means is simply that,120 teachers have Life Blue Cross out of the 200 teachers in Newport.

Providence , Cranston, and other cities have talked to retirees and I would assume there retirees didn’t want changes, but they made them. However, cities can longer afford these benefits as they are constructed.

As far as my pension is concerned , all public school teachers are in the state retirement plan. Oh by the way the state passed major changes to its retirees. RI could no longer afford the way it was structured.

Robert J Leary 18 days ago | reply

ZfHuMJIGnTUrxnJ

I’m out of laeuge here. Too much brain power on display!

Jayne 19 days ago | reply

Your pension

Bob how much of your pension have you donated back to the West Warwick school system ??????

Jack 19 days ago | reply

Response to Mr. Leary’s suggestion

Mr. Leary—-your suggestion that the retired teachers should talk to the School Committee smacks of politics. You were on the School Committee when the last contract with TAN was negotiated. Whether you voted for or against the present 2011-2014 contract is immaterial. I assumed you voted against it—-but you must have read it in order to cast your vote. Page 25, Section K, 4th paragraph reads ” Any medical benefit cost share and above agreed-upon contractual benefits shall not be changed for employees after the date of retirement.” Any retiree who is willing to talk to you or the School Committee about restructuring their post retirement benefits most likely does not represent a vast majority of the retirees——especially if they are aware of the above agreed upon language in their contract. You should forget about the talk—and walk the walk. Deal with the present and upcoming contracts. Accept the past agreed upon contractual language.

Ace 19 days ago | reply

Can someone translate

Mr. Leary’s post? The word salad is nearly incomprehensible. For example: “The teachers only 120 of its 200 members have it.”

Is this how the school committee organizes its thoughts? In an obfuscating stream of consciousness?

Concerned Taxpayer 20 days ago | reply

Real numbers

I do not like to give numbers out without being on target.

You can check the unfunded liability, and the money they are recommending to put in this in fy 2014 budget numbers on the city’s web site. The $675,000 is close to the target for a 1% tax raise.

As far as Life Blue Cross in the school department, you can verify my numbers and who continues to have Life Blue Cross through the school department or on the schools web site under contracts.

Robert J Leary 21 days ago | reply

Questions

Bobby are any of these numbers real numbers? I have seen you on video making numbers up, changing data points right during a meeting, can we be sure you are not doing so right now?

Are you willing to vote to support the idea of putting thanks to the citizens of Newport on Jack’s plaque?

Newporter 21 days ago | reply

Bargaining with retirees

The Newport School Committee as well as the Newport City Council should talk to the retirees. Newport’s unfunded liability payment this year is $1,900,000 considering that around $675,000 is a 1% tax increase. That is almost a 3% tax increase. Providence and recently Cranston have had success with involving its retirees.
Newport School Committee has made great strides with reducing its unfunded liability . In the last contract the school department retiree benefits has decreased from $73,200,000 to $48,900,000.You can’t ignore that!
What happened to the money? The money is in a trust fund The total dollar amount is less $3,500,000 As you can see that will not cover the districts cost for post employment retirement benefits.
As I was told by a former school committee member they acted on what information was given to them. Life Blue Cross was given when the administration told the school committee they would save $1,000,000 by switching from Classic Blue Cross to Coast to Coast Blue Cross. It saved $50,000 !
Since around 2005 there isn’t any Life Blue Cross for our new employees none of them..The last contract with Council 94 members 75% of its membership gave up its Life Blue Cross. All of our administration has given it up. The teachers only 120 of its 200 members have it. That needs to be reduced with each contract.

Robert J. Leary 22 days ago | reply

Vanity

I’d say it is all about who gets their name on the Pell building. How do we ask the committee to thank the citizens on that plaque we all know jack wants his name on?

Newporter 22 days ago | reply

Yes, it is all about trust Ms. Gaines

“Gaines responded with a familiar, yet broader concern.

“At the bottom of all of this is the big word of trust,” she said. “There is hardly any trust between the School Committee and the City Council. And I say that with all do respect to the council… But as a body, it’s very hard to trust that they’re going to do what’s right for the kids.””

If there’s anyone we should trust less than the City Council to “…do what’s right for the kids,” it’s the School Committee.

Just sayin’.

Concerned Taxpayer 22 days ago | reply

Bargaining with retirees

Why would any fair person be in favor of Mr. Leary’s idea of restructuring retiree(s) post employment benefit plans? Everyone knows that restructuring means giving up some thing(s) that the retiree(s) earned as part of their retirement package. If Mr. Leary or anyone else is unhappy with the present terms that future retiree(s) will earn upon their retirement then the school committee should negotiate with the present teachers about their future retirement package. Changing terms of retirement AFTER individuals have already retired is unfair and most likely illegal. What happened to the monies that retirees paid to fund their future retiree costs? Where is that 3% monies that was supposed to go into an escrow account to help defray future costs? Former school committee members were responsible for the present retiree(s) benefit package. Years ago during negotiations with the teachers the school committee broached the subject of life time benefits in exchange for a 0% increase in salaries. Both parties agreed to the terms. Is the school committee going to offer to said retiree teachers compensation for the 0% they agreed to as part of the restructuring of their post employment plan? One would assume at least a 3% salary increase compounded over the many years that the retiree(s) were no longer employed—-PLUS—-the 3% escrow payments that somehow no one wants to remember. Sounds like a real mess!!

Ace 22 days ago | reply

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Open Town Hall Meeting April 16th 6:30pm-8pm Newport Public Library

Alliance for a Livable Newport
Open Town Hall Meeting
April 16, 2013 6:30-8pm

YOU ARE INVITED!
All Newport Residents are encouraged to attend this issue packed event! This is your opportunity to ask important questions about the City of Newport and Newport Public Schools. Please join us and “bring a friend”!

Sponsored by The Alliance for a Livable Newport
Where:  Newport Public Library – Program Room 
             300 Spring Street, Newport, RI
When:   Tuesday, April 16th – 6:30 pm to 8:00 pm
 
Gray
Panelists for the Forum 
Harry Winthrop Naomi Neville
Dr. Charles
Shoemaker
Jo Eva Gaines
Mayor & Chairman
Newport City
Council
Vice Chairman
Newport City
Council
Chairman
Newport School
Committee
Vice Chairman
Newport School
Committee

 

What questions do you have?

After brief opening remarks be each of the panelists, Newport residents will have the opportunity to ask any and all questions about issues you may have regarding our city and schools.

Please send your questions in advance
for the panel to info@newportalliance.org

 

 

Public Access                        
This forum will be videotaped for viewing on Public Access TV and on our website. To view other recent ALN forums on our website, please visit

 

QUICK LINKS
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So that we might continue to bring important community forums to you, won’t you please make a Tax Deductible Donation now to support our “all volunteer” efforts.
Sincerely,
Ronald Becker, Treasurer
Alliance for a Livable Newport 

 

 

 

 

Question #1 Responses – January Survey “3 Questions, 3 Minutes”

Question #1:

Safety in the schools is a hot issue in the aftermath of continuing gun violence in public places.

What plans would you support to insure the safety in public schools and other public places?

Answer Count Percent
20% 40% 60% 80% 100%
1. Locked doors; armed security guards 30 16.48%
2. Mandatory defense training for all teachers and school staff 30 16.48%
3. Outlaw automatic weapons, assault rifles, and magazines/clips holding more than 10 rounds; and make background checks mandatory for all gun sales 95 52.20%
4. Other 27 14.84%
Total 182 100%

Metal detectors; but no armed guards, please.
This is a very rare event. Kids are just as likely to get struck by lightning at a football game (it does happen). RI has a high level of gun control. I think we are doing all we reasonably can.
I do not think we need armed guards and training of school staff should be of a preventative nature – they should not be armed, but nonlethal items such as mace and tear gas maybe necessary. Each school should have an emergency plan and conduct drills so everyone knows what to do in event of an attack. Every exterior door should be locked with the main entrance door electronically controlled with the lobby of each school constructed to serve as a containment area from which visitors may not pass without inspection. Each class room should be a safe haven with lockable solid core door controlled by the teacher or a master switch at the entry and every classroom should have an alternate escape route to the outside. While we can do the above, lets remember that gun control and reporting and follow-up of abnormal behavior are also factors. School security is not the sole answer.
Locked doors and stricter gun laws
Locked doors…secuirity guards without guns
Locked doors, police detail outside school at opening and closing times.
There are innumerable retired, well trained service men and woman who would gladly be sworn in to volunteer to stand watch at public schools. This needn’t be a burden and further expense on the community but it is a necessary but unfortunate step in the direction of safety and security for school children.
Preserve our right to sovereignty as democratic citizens but require arms to be kept in gun clubs, armories, and other non-governmental places under civic oversight. Require civic achievement and service of those seeking gun permits.
Teacher should not carry guns in schools sends out the wrong message they are there to teach.
Teach conflict resolution, non-violence in schools across the nation. The idea that we would all be safer if we all carried assault weapons is absurd – what, we should whip out our guns as a first resort?
Outlawing guns entirely within city limits would be the best option.
Lockable steel doors on all rooms. A wireless personal alarm, pepper spray and maybe taser guns for staff. A security plan in place.
For schools and other public spaces, some kind of alarm system that can be activated in multiple places in the event of a threat.
Whatever we can do to stop this senseless violence!
Locked doors. Offer free training for teachers and staff interested, after school on their own time.
Increased police presence in the area of schools
Appoint a school safety officer to assist local schools with the development of plans and strategies to make the schools safer. Plans should include responses to bullying, and identification of and assistance to troubled students.
Have classes in peaceful conflict resolution.
Special training for all teachers to enable them to enact standard procedures in the event of an event. Further, there should be drills.
Locked doors in school. Less sensationalism of the perpetrator by the press. They win. We DO NOT need to make him a celebrity. What were the gun assaults before and what have they been since. As a society we need more caring, less hate and violence. Life in America is full of entertainment violence and degradation of society. When are we going to become an intelligent and caring society. TRASH SELLS???? at what long term costs??? Integrity is gone from most aspects of society.
Approve H.R. 93, the Fire Sale Loophole Closing Act, on January 3, 2013. Under current federal law, gun dealers whose licenses are revoked may convert their inventory to personal collections, to be sold without conducting background checks on purchasers. The Fire Sale Loophole Closing Act would end this dangerous practice.Support a comprehensive assault weapons ban, and legislation, H.R. 138, introduced by Representative Carolyn McCarthy (D-NY) to prohibit the transfer or possession of assault-style large capacity ammunition feeding devices. I have also co-sponsored legislation, H.R. 142, to require ammunition be sold only by licensed dealers through in person transactions; to close the gun show loophole, H.R. 141; and legislation, H.R. 137, to ensure that all individuals who should be prohibited from buying a firearm are listed in the national instant criminal background check system and require a background check on all firearm sales.
I’ve checked the locked doors/ armed security guard box, but only because I agree with the locked doors element. I am not persuaded that the security environment in Newport provides a basis for instituting an armed guard paradigm.
Metal detectors
Locked doors at all entrances and all classrooms.
Defense training for teachers and school staff – but no weapons!
Any household having guns should let the schools be aware of that fact.
More studies should be done as to how to recognize signs of a person with mental or emotional problems which might lead to harm being done to others.
If studies prove that violent video games, tv shows and movies lead to violent behaviour then they should be banned.
Teachers, Principals, School Staff should all be trained in how to treat each other and their students with respect, and they should demand respect from their students towards them and towards their peers. Lack of respect and civility in today’s society is rampant. Let’s try amending this flaw.
We find ourselves in this situation because we are willing to sacrifice community safety for individual freedom. This is an ongoing dilemma, a function of American history and culture. I believe there is really no way to “solve” this problem; we will simply have to live with it.

 

January Survey; 3 Questions, 3 minutes, tell us what you think!

  • Anyone can take this survey! Please share with your friends.

  • We encourage every Newport Resident to participate.

CLICK HERE >> January 2013 ALN »

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March 20 from 5:30-7:00 pm ALN League of Women Voters Workshop

The Alliance for a Livable Newport and the League of Women Voters, Newport County, will host a workshop March 20 from 5:30-7:00 pm at the Newport Public Library, Rotary Room, 300 Spring Street, to discuss the financial impact of Race to the Top and the particulars of the new Rhode Island school funding formula.
*Space for this workshop is very limited. The Rotary room at the Newport Public Library will hold two dozen people. Please come early to make sure of a seat.

Funding Our Schools-Rhode Island’s Role in Supporting Local Education

Until the passage of new legislation in June 2010, Rhode Island was one of only two states that did not use a funding formula to help support local school districts. Rhode Island’s new funding formula has been in place for almost two years, and the state has also received new federal monies as part of the Race to the Top grant. What exactly is a funding formula and what does this all mean to local school districts?

Alda Rego, Rhode Island Department of Education‘s Director of Finance, and Kristen Cole, RIDE’s Senior Finance Officer, will explain how Rhode Island’s school funding formula affects local community school funding and how the school district’s demographics are factored into the funding formula. Representatives of the Newport School District will be on hand to discuss the impact of these programs on its funding. There will also be a discussion of how the Race to the Top funds are being used by RIDE to strengthen public education in Rhode Island.   There will be time for questions after the presentations.

The League of Women Voters believes that the state has an important role in funding education,” says Susan Wells, president of the League of Women Voters of Newport County. “Citizens need to understand how the formula works and why it is important. There is more to it than grumbling about how much more or less a district receives under the new formula. We hope this workshop will be a concrete step in forming a basic understanding of what is at stake.”

Information on Rhode Island’s funding formula is available at RIDE’s Web site:

http://www.ride.ri.gov/Finance/Funding/FundingFormula/  

  • Please  join us for this informative event.
  • Free and Open to the Public
  • For more information or to submit questions,  please e-mail:
  • Info@allianceforlivablenewport.org
Alliance for a Livable Newport
Isabel Griffith, President
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