🏫💰 It’s school bond day in four Rhode Island communities

🏫💰 It’s school bond day in four Rhode Island communities

Voters in Charlestown, Richmond and Hopkinton are heading to the polls to decide on a $150 million school bond to build three new elementary schools within the Chariho Regional School District. The schools are projected to cost $130 million, and the remaining money would go to capital projects at existing schools.

In South Kingstown, voters are being asked to approve $150 million for a new high school and to build an athletic complex on the site of what used to be the Curtis Corner Middle School.

School officials in both communities (Chariho and South Kingstown) are making similar cases in favor of the bonds, arguing that each community is eligible for large reimbursement packages from the state that are expected to expire later this year.

In the case of Chariho, officials say the three communities could be reimbursed for 76 percent of the cost for the new schools (up from a usual reimbursement rate of 61 percent). For South Kingstown, the reimbursement rate would jump from 35 percent to 50 percent if the bond is approved.

Opponents of the bonds in each community are also making familiar arguments, suggesting that property taxes are likely to increase as a result of the increased borrowing.

They’re not off base.

Property tax changes are always based on the value of a given property, but one projection for Chariho voters is that Charlestown would see a $75 annual increase on a home valued at $553,000, Richmond would see a $256 increase on homes valued at $396,000, and Hopkinton would see a $269 increase on homes valued at $400,000.

For South Kingstown, the estimate is that property taxes would increase $318 a year on homes that currently have an average assessment of $468,300.

If you want to dive deeper into the weeds on either proposal, South Kingstown has excellent information here, and Chariho has a helpful FAQ on its bond here. The Providence Journals Jonny Williams also did a nice job capturing the debate in Chariho.

This story first appeared in Rhode Map, our free newsletter about Rhode Island that also contains information about local events, links to interesting stories, and more. If you’d like to receive it via email Monday through Friday, you can sign up here.

Dan McGowan can be reached at [email protected]. Follow him @danmcgowan.