Portsmouth is Great!
Go for a walk or bike around Portsmouth. Go to Sandy Point Beach, a PHS football game or polo. For such a small town, we have it good. And that is before considering how close we are to Newport, Boston, NYC, New England skiing and the world's best sailing.
And yet of late, we do a lot of fighting—schools, budgets, sewers, etc. Everyone takes sides and it gets tense. And, with elections upon us, things get really tense.
Voting in the national elections, one can get a feeling of not really making a difference; however, this is far from the case in the town election where in 2008 3,500 votes earned someone a position on the town council. Clearly, our votes count and we all must consider what is important to us for the town of Portsmouth and then go and vote to support that position.
My position is that as a town there is no other issue or service that we can provide that comes close to the importance of creating the best school system in the state. I do not concede that Barrington, East Greenwich, or any other town has built in advantages over Portsmouth to better fund a school system.
If your priorities are lowering taxes, you can find the candidates who are firmly of that belief. However, please carefully research and consider claims of "cutting the excesses out of the school system." There have been no examples of opportunities to save money in the schools that do not involve cutting programs and services and increasing class sizes.
It is an undisputed fact that Portsmouth has the third lowest cost per student in the state. Balance that with the school's strong academic performance and you have a highly efficient system.
Please do not convince yourself that the candidates who promise lower taxes will be reducing school funding without directly decreasing the quality of education in Portsmouth.
If the schools are important to you; I encourage you to review this list of candidates. These are the people who have put forth numerous hours of service to improve the schools, who have battled to create the most efficient schools in the state. I strongly encourage you to support Leonard Katzman, James Seveney, Dennis Canario, Michael Buddemeyer, Terri Cortvriend, Jeffrey Lewis and Al Honnen for town council and David Croston, John McDaid, Andrew Kelly and Marge Levesque for school committee.
Please get out and vote on Nov 2. See you at the polls.