Last one-room school house in RI to remain open
By: Brittany Comak
PORTSMOUTH, R.I. (WLNE) - The last one room school house in Rhode Island will continue on, despite concerns from the community.
Outcry came after the Portsmouth school department terminated a memorandum of understanding between them and the Prudence Island School Foundation, that originally said they would continue funding the program.
Supporters of the Prudence Island School waited for more than two hours to state their case for why the school should be funded and remain open, at a Portsmouth Town Council meeting Monday night.
But supporters were pleasantly surprised when the town council said they had no intention of cutting funding to the school, whether the school committee decided to or not.
Town council president Kevin Aguiar explained that the funding from the Portsmouth school committee is already secured for the 2019-2020 school year.
In addition, the council says that even if the school committee does not want to fund the program going forward, it would then fall to the town council to find the funding in the town budget.
"The council has that ability to continue with the funding, and I believe that would be our prerogative moving forward, that the council would be making that decision," explained Aguiar.
The town administrator concurred, stating that it's always been anticipated that the funding for the schoolhouse would be a civic support item in the budget.
Those with the foundation were ecstatic after the meeting.
"They are in a very nurturing school, and now you're talking about sending them - not that there's anything wrong with the Portsmouth school system, but it's not their school, and it's not their neighborhood," said Cathy Homan of the Prudence Island School Foundation. "And they were going to be taken away from that, and now they're not."
Homan also said she's not sure where the miscommunication happened here, but she's glad to know the town council will be stepping in to take care of things.