Portsmouth RI to vote on $21.44 million school improvement bond

PORTSMOUTH — On Nov. 2, voters will have the opportunity to vote in a special election whether or not to approve a $21.44 million bond. If approved, funds will go toward renovating several schools. 

Through the Rhode Island School Construction Program, Portsmouth has submitted a “Stage II” application to receive state reimbursement for 40% of the project costs, totaling $8,575,720.

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Under this competitive statewide program, Portsmouth is eligible for reimbursement at a baseline rate of 35%, plus a bonus incentive of 5% for the health and safety improvements included in the project plans.

Portsmouth RI to vote on .44 million school improvement bond

The Rhode Island Department of Education (RIDE) is reviewing Portsmouth’s Stage II application, and a decision on reimbursement is expected in December 2021. The projects will move forward only if voters approve the referendum and the state approves the Stage II application.

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Here are five things to know about the bond: 

  • Project costs won’t exceed $21.44 million, with the state reimbursing $8.58 million, making Portsmouth’s share $12.86 million. 
  • Portsmouth has a time-limited opportunity to receive 40% reimbursement (about $8.6 million) from the Rhode Island Department of Education to offset the cost of the projects.
  • The estimated yearly impact on a $250,000 home will be $56.70. 
  • The estimated yearly impact on a $500,000 home will be $113.40. 
  • 56% of the funds will go toward new air quality improvements to help mitigate COVID-19; 25% of the funds will go toward updating all bathrooms to be ADA compliant; 8% of the funds will go toward roofing; 7% of the funds are slated to go towards site safety; and 4% of the funds will go toward removing hazardous materials.