It is our job on this website to tear the mask off of pro-Megabond rhetoric and reveal the Megabond’s real face.
The entire middle school pro-bond argument is predicated upon one thing: we must act NOW to secure the incentives from RIDE. Other than that argument, there is absolutely no reason to rush this bond vote through.
BUT … We will not qualify for the incentives unless we hit every single deadline of the 5 Stage approval process required by RIDE and complete the entire project on time.
According to the letter below from the RI Department of Education, we are only in the Preliminary Phase of Stage 1 & will be forced to vote 3 months before the district submits for Stage 2 approval.
For most (or all?) districts, Stage 2 approval comes well before the voters are asked to vote, as that is the major planning stage (but don’t take it from us, read the letter below!)
In fact, even with Stage 2 approval (a PLAN!), the following districts went over budget:
Newport ($15 M)
SK ($26 M)
Johnston (by $50M)
The NKSD has not gotten to Stage 2 yet. So voters will be asked to take a major leap of faith. Those assuring you that we are guaranteed the reimbursements should absolutely not be making that irresponsible promise.
It took the NKSD well over a year to submit for and get Preliminary Stage 1 approval. (See screenshots below.)
Furthermore, the Stage 1 application was submitted based on a faulty Master Plan, which is also how they determined the $167.4M estimate. We wonder if RIDE is aware that this approval was based on flawed information, which is prohibited (see screenshot referencing wetlands issue). The initial proposed site (Quid El) had to be abandoned in June due to the wetlands problem.
According to Mr. Waterman, the required Phase 2 ESA (see picture) will be submitted in February, along with their Stage 2 application. Voters will not be seeing this study started or completed until well after the vote.
(Want more details? Just ask!)
Stages 1 & 2 Checklists (see pgs 9-29). Click here for the official RIDE Document.