Study finds RI public school buildings get failing grade - ABC6 - Providence, RI and New Bedford, MA News, Weather

Study finds RI public school buildings get failing grade

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By: Chloe Leshner

cleshner@abc6.com

@cleshnerabc6

WARREN, R.I. (WLNE) -- The first independent report studying the conditions of every public school in Rhode Island was released today. That report found that only a small percentage of schools in the state are in good or average condition, prompting the Governor to call on state and city officials to work together to make big changes

With the Governor's signature, the Rhode Island School Building Task Force is created, a group that will make an action plan to improve the conditions of public schools in Rhode Island 

"Our school buildings are getting a failing grade," Governor Raimondo told the crowd gathered at the Bristol-Warren district's Kickemuit Middle School.

The first independent study on the condition of every public school in the state was released today and the Governor says the findings are alarming. The price tag just to make schools safe dry and warm is a whopping $600 million. She's calling for a once in a generation investment to go towards every public school in the state.

"This is not a matter of having or not having the money. This is a matter of making wise, smart, thoughtful plans and investments in our school's facilities," says the Rhode Island Education Commissioner Kevin Wagner.

Where exactly the money will come from is still up in the air, the task force is looking into what other states have done.

"Bonding is a likely option, interest rates are low, these are capital investments so that's a very likely option. The state will do its part, cities and towns have to do their part," says Governor Raimondo.

Officials say there is a lot of work ahead and they're ready to listen to parents, teachers and schools.

"There's not a family in Rhode Island who doesn't have a stake in this. There's not a family in Rhode Island who's not going to benefit from us getting this right," says Governor Raimondo.

Governor Raimondo expects to have a proposal for the legislature in January. Meanwhile, officials are encouraging parents to check out the report to see how their school measures up.

To see the report visit: http://www.ride.ri.gov/FundingFinance/SchoolBuildingAuthority/FacilityDataInformation.aspx

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