Commissioner unveils takeover plans for “broken” Providence schools

Rhode Island Education Commissioner Angélica Infante-Green talks with reporters as she unveils her plan to assume control of the trouble Providence public schools. Photo by Steve Klamkin WPRO News

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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:

Proposal for Decision and Order (00000003)

  • Trans FormationalContract

    So she’s going to keep me out of the loop? Fine. Less nonsense and work for me. Plus, if this turnaround fails, I can’t be blamed!! If only Taveras and I hadn’t invited thousands of Latino immigrants who can’t speak a work of English, some of them illegal, to the sanctuary city of Providence things might be different. I know, we overwhelmed the system in our desire to make a point. Other Providence children suffered as a result of our actions. Now Trump is after me after I challenged him by admitting Providence is a sanctuary city. My political career is ruined so I think I’ll just coast for the next year. Maybe take a vacation to Guatemala for a month or two, just to get out of the way of this transformational change. Well it was fun while it lasted. Hasta siempre amigos!

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