By Steve Klamkin WPRO News
The Rhode Island state education commissioner sets the wheels in motion to take control of the troubled Providence public school district.
“Everything is on the table” to shake up the “broken” schools, Angélica Infante-Green said Thursday, as she issued a 122-page report containing her recommendations to the Council on Elementary and Secondary Education to appoint a “state turnaround superintendent” for the day to day operation of Providence schools, while she determines what policies and procedures to change.
“The system is broken, we need to do something about it and nothings has been done for the last 30 or so years, so this is our chance,” Infante-Green told reporters outside her downtown Providence office.
She expects to have the power to renegotiate or even break contracts, but has been talking with all of the parties, from teachers to the schools’ custodial contractor Aramark. Overhauling the education side, she says, is just as important as the physical condition of the schools.
The mayor and city council president issued separate statements generally supportive of Infante-Green’s takeover plan.
“Though transformational change is difficult, I believe this is the best route to achieve it,” Mayor Jorge Elorza said in a statement.
“I believe that this is a necessary step, and although I have concerns that the state is taking control of more than half of the City’s budget, I remain committed and supportive of this process,” said City Council President Sabina Matos.
In addition to the mayor and City Council, the Superintendent of schools and School Committee must all sign off on the proposal before it can move forward. Infante-Green has set an administrative hearing September 13 to consider their concerns.
Read the Commissioner’s recommendation: