JOHNSTON, R.I. (WPRI) — Johnston residents overwhelmingly approved a $215 million bond that would repair and reconstruct the town’s schools.
With the bond’s approval, Johnston’s schools will be consolidated into four buildings. Those buildings will include a brand new early childhood center and elementary school, as well as completely renovated middle and high school buildings.
Of the less than 6% of residents who voted, unofficial election results show that 1,100 people approved the bond, while 178 rejected it.
The master plan calls for all of the existing elementary schools to be consolidated into one new building. In order to do this, the town plans to move 5th graders into the middle school.
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It will be a major upgrade compared to the condition the schools are currently in. For example, Thornton Elementary School is more than a century old and some classrooms are located in trailers — a temporary fix that has now been in use for 25 years.
Mayor Joseph Polisena previously told 12 News the town’s schools have been deteriorating over the years to the point where they’re insufficient.
“They are just old,” Polisena said. “You can only put so much caulking around the windows. This is a cafeteria and they use it as a gym.”
Polisena said this bond will pay for part of the construction and revenue from businesses in town, including the new Amazon facility on Route 6, would contribute to the cost as well.