Special needs school pins hopes on ballot question

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RICHMOND, R.I. (WPRI) — Dozens of at-risk and special needs students in the Chariho Regional School District currently attend classes in cramped trailers, but a question on the ballot could pave the way to a permanent building.

About 55 students are part of the Chariho District’s R.Y.S.E. (Reaching Youth through Support and Education) School. It’s made up of just over two-dozen trailers on the Chariho campus in Richmond. Superintendent Barry Ricci says the trailers, which are more than 15 years old, are inadequate, not up to code, and deteriorating.

On November 8th, Charlestown, Richmond and Hopkinton residents will vote on a referendum to allow the school district to borrow $6 million to construct a permanent R.Y.S.E. facility. The new building would be attached to Chariho Regional Middle School.

Since the lease on the trailers runs out next May, Ricci says it’s the perfect time to build a new facility. In addition, he says a permanent building will end up saving money in the long run, compared to leasing trailers.

Voters in all three towns must approve the proposal before it can move forward. If it passes, Ricci says construction will likely begin next spring, and the building should be open for the 2018-19 school year.