Valley Breeze

The Valley Breeze & Observer 10-18-2018

The Valley Breeze Newspapers serving the Northern Rhode Island towns of Cumberland, Lincoln, Woonsocket, Smithfield, North Smithfield, Pawtucket, North Providence, Scituate, Foster, and Glocester

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Page 14 of 63

SMITHFIELD SCITUATE FOSTER GLOCESTER | VALLEY BREEZE & OBSERVER | OCTOBER 18-24, 2018 LETTERS 15 Smithfield school bond – the time is now Opposition to approving munici- pal bonds usually include reasons to delay the project but delays come with costs. For the school bond being put before the Smithfield voters on Nov. 6, there are tremendous costs for postponement. Recently, the Providence Journal reported on a poll that found 77 percent of voters in favor of the $250-million state bond for school repairs. This bond will provide additional funding and incentives to districts with approved school con- struction projects. Smithfield is one of nine communities at the front of the line to secure these additional funds. A review of our project suggests that we may be eligible for the maximum incentive amount - 20 percent in addition to our 35 percent minimum reimbursement. Considering both interest and principal, this amounts to about an additional $13 million for Smithfield. If the project is delayed, we will lose these added incentives and face increased construction costs. Construction costs have been rising steadily and are typically 4 percent or higher. Even assuming a more conservative estimate of 3 percent yearly increases, the total cost of the elementary renovations would rise by nearly $14 million over 10 years. In addition, these facilities would further deteriorate, resulting in added costs. The Jacobs Report, commissioned by the State of Rhode Island, estimates that Smithfield school facilities will have an additional $13 million in deficiencies over the next five years. Although all elementary facilities are in need of renovations, we have been highlighting Winsor Elementary School since its deficiencies threaten its long term use. If we don't close Winsor, we run the risk of having Winsor closed for us. Currently, Winsor has a fire code variance. This is just one of its deficiencies. The infrastructure of Winsor – its electri- cal, HVAC, and other systems, have aged beyond their useful life and may fail at any time. Since Winsor sits on property that is undersized, it is inad- visable to invest further in the facility. The conditions at Old County Road School and LaPerche, although not as dire, require our immediate attention. Electrical and HVAC systems are failing. Access control to the school, vehicular traffic patterns, and other issues, when addressed by renova- tions, would improve the overall safety and security of the buildings. Some have suggested that the bond be defeated and the school depart- ment seek a bond for a smaller proj- ect. This is not feasible. If we were to seek approval from RIDE for a smaller project, we would need to go through a new Stage 2 application, which would lack equity for our ele- mentary facilities – making approval less likely. In addition, the time that it would take would potentially bring us beyond the timeline for the added state incentives. Potentially, it may cost the town more for a smaller project in the future than it will for a comprehensive project at the present time. Both parents hoping for safer school facilities and voters wishing to be fis- cally conservative should consider approval of the school bond. JUDITH J. PAOLUCCI Smithfield Dr. Paolucci is the school superintendent in Smithfield Letters to the Editor Letters to the Editor are welcome from readers. Please: • Limit to 500 words. Longer letters may appear online only. • Letters on local or state topics and issues will take precedence over those on national issues. • No more than one letter per person every 8 weeks, please. • All letters must be signed and include a hometown. Send by e-mail to:, or mail to The Valley Breeze, 6 Blackstone Valley Place, Suite 204, Lincoln, RI 02865. DEMOCRATIC NOMINEE DISTRICT 23 Creative Pool System, Inc. Swimming Pool Supplies & Services 17 Commerce Street, Greenville (behind A&W) • 949-4400 In shop Salt Cell and Filter Cartridge overnight deep cleaning Service, Supplies, Parts, Advice, In-Shop Repairs, and Free Water Testing! Have your pool winterized by a professional and save time/money. Call today!

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