Letter: Tiverton residents, take a stand to save our schools

Posted 4/21/21

To the editor:

To the people of Tiverton; please save our future. Please save your children’s future, your grandchildren’s future, all of our futures. In 2020, Tiverton Schools had to …

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Letter: Tiverton residents, take a stand to save our schools

Posted

To the editor:

To the people of Tiverton; please save our future. Please save your children’s future, your grandchildren’s future, all of our futures. In 2020, Tiverton Schools had to prepare for the school year, naturally costing money. But due to the refusal of the budget committee to give anyone in this town other than a starving budget, the school district was forced to spend money it did not have. Now, the school committee faces the impossible task of solving a problem that no one other than a few people are even aware of. 

The mindset of refusing to solve problems that are simple to fix because it may save a small amount of money short-term is hurting the town. For the past decade, all departments of Tiverton have seen less and less money to fix essential problems. These problems are not those that lay dormant, waiting for a time to strike. We do not have money to pay teachers, fund extra-curricular and curricular activities, upkeep parks, or even fill potholes. 

Now with the extra stresses of Covid-19, this town is seeming to fall apart. We are approaching a turning point in this town’s history, a point that poses the question; will we be the town that took no action as its school district, and with it its future, crumble around them, or the town that decisively took a stand, putting their foot down? 

If we ignore this problem, Tiverton will not only lose its school district, but it will become a shell of its former self. A tragic yet all too true story of this exact effect is seen in our neighbors, Little Compton.  Since the transfer of high school students to Portsmouth, Little Compton’s school-age population, and population in general, has been shrinking. 

In 2000, the population of Little Compton was just over 3.5 thousand and in 2010 it dropped to 3.4 thousand, giving a population decrease of 11 people per year. Out of those 3.4 thousand, only 16% of its inhabitants are below 20, making only 574 residents of school age in 2010. With high schoolers not being in Little Compton, one might expect a decrease in taxes, but by examining the tax rates from 2010 to 2020 you see the contrary. In 2010, the property tax rate was 5.33 and in the fiscal year 2020, the tax rate was 5.99. The progression was linear as well, in 2015, the property tax rate was 5.75. We mustn’t fall to the same fate.

If we fail to provide funds future classes won’t be able to learn essential skills. Your children and grandchildren will not be able to receive a proper education. If you still aren’t convinced, let me pose some questions; When an elementary school gets shut down, where will your kids go? When music is cut, what will they play? What about special education? The humanities? The arts? There will not be a stopping point. The hindrance to our education has just begun, please stop it. 

Samuel Farley

Tiverton High School student

2021 by East Bay Newspapers

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Scott Pickering

Scott Pickering has been on the East Bay Newspapers team for more than two decades, since starting as a reporter for the Sakonnet Times. He's been editor of most of the papers, was Managing Editor of all the papers for many years, and became General Manager in 2012. Today he can be found posting to EastBayRI.com, steering news coverage, writing editorials, talking to readers, working with the sales team, collaborating on design, or helping do whatever it takes to get the papers out the door. Reach him at spickering@eastbaynewspapers.com.