Who We Are and Why We Are Opposing District 833's Referendum

Our political committee, Demand a Better Plan 833, is comprised of parents from Newport with children enrolled in District 833. Why Newport? The answer is District 833’s $462 million facility plan includes the closure of the only school in our community, Newport Elementary. If the District’s August 9th referendum question for building bonds is approved, Newport Elementary will almost certainly be closed.

There are times when closing a school is necessary. However, we have struggled to make sense of why District 833 seeks to close Newport Elementary while asking for the largest referendum in state history in order to add capacity at other schools. Most Newport students would switch to Cottage Grove Elementary which will require an $8.4 million addition (pushing capacity to over 900) to accommodate our students.

As we have been learning about the plan as a whole over the past several months, we have identified many broader concerns. Our biggest concern with the plan as a whole is that we do not believe the enrollment projections the District is using are valid. The District is emphasizing how new residential construction will add a large number of students and push schools overcapacity, yet over the past 4 years, amidst robust residential development, enrollment in the District has been flat.


With the economic headwinds we read and hear about each day (especially inflation and rising interest rates), there is a growing possibility that the homes the District is counting on being built will be built at a much slower pace or not at all. If enrollment has been flat with robust residential development the past four years, what will happen if construction slows?

As parents, we want to support our District. However, we cannot support the District’s current plan. We know a better plan can be developed that will serve all communities at less cost. As we oppose the August 9th referendum, we will seek to have conversations about how we can better address our students’ needs in a fair and cost-effective manner.

We hope you will join with us to vote no on August 9th and demand a better plan.

Sincerely,

Marien Fernandez-Paris Borras

Becky Kermes

Mike Kermes

Nicole Kogler (Treasurer)

Jennifer McDonough

Marvin Taylor (Chair)