(This post was just sent as part of our email update. If you got the email, skip the post. If you didn’t get the email, get on our mailing list by emailing me at email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org.)
Thanks to your support, we are getting much closer to reopening Nathan Bishop as a high quality middle school. In the last week, however, we have learned of some potentially serious roadblocks ahead. We would like to share what we’ve learned and ask, once again, for your help in moving Bishop forward.
Since Nathan Bishop was slated to be closed ten months ago, we’ve made remarkable progress. We now have a strong and effective organization dedicated to creating and supporting strong public schools. The Superintendent has recommended reopening Nathan Bishop, and the current DeJong plan recommends keeping Bishop open, as well as both King and Gregorian elementary schools. Our goal thus now seems to have support from both the School Department and the City.
The next step is for the Rhode Island Department of Education (RIDE) and the Board of Regents to approve the pending application for state construction aid for the New Nathan Bishop. On Wednesday, Feb. 28, the Finance Committee of the Board of Regents will consider all pending school construction aid applications across the State, including Bishop.
It is unclear at this point whether the Finance Committee will recommend further consideration of the Nathan Bishop application as part of this year’s batch of decisions. We obviously hope it will. Recently, however, we have heard that there may be issues with the application that will prevent its further consideration. If so, the reopening of Nathan Bishop could be significantly delayed.
A decision by the Finance Committee that the Bishop application is incomplete or unacceptable is not the absolute end of the line. We understand that there would still be hope for approval at the vote by the full Board of Regents on March 22. However, if the Finance Committee recommends against the Bishop proposal, it will be necessary once again for the East Side to mobilize to demonstrate the strong demand for public education in our neighborhoods.
The Finance Committee meets on Wednesday, Feb. 28 at 4pm, at 255 Westminster Street. The meeting is open, and ESPEC steering committee members plan to attend, but we are not sure that a large demonstration of support by our group would be productive at this point. We will promptly report to you with what we learn.
In the meantime, we’re preparing for phone, email and letter campaigns directed to state-level officials, possibly including the Regents, the Governor, and members of the General Assembly representing the East Side. We may need a strong turnout of people at the March 22 Board of Regents meeting.
We know, from the 125+ people who turned out for our last meeting on a cold February night and the 360 people on this email list, that we have enough resources to influence decision makers. We are nearing our goal, so please prepare to be part of this next push to restore Nathan Bishop and East Side Public Education.
Read Full Post »