Portsmouth RI to vote on $21.44 million school improvement bond

Marice Phelipe

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 voters will be asked to approve a $21.4 million school bond in November.

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.

More:Pell Elementary students kick off school addition construction by digging into the dirt

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. 

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