Department of Education answers to House Oversight Committee amidst school closure announcement

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WLNE) — Rhode Island Department of Education representatives, including Commissioner Angélica Infante-Green, answered to the House Oversight Committee after announcing three Providence schools will close.

Members of the committee said the Department of Education missed an opportunity to engage community members of the district — and fear this will disrupt students’ education.

“Instead of creating something for them to look forward to, you gave them something to angst about,” said Rep. Patricia Serpa, chair of the committee. “This is a situation that, if I put if frankly, you folks created.”

The Department of Education outlined shortcomings in math and English scores since the pandemic across the state. The next step for the state is improved facilities.

“Schools are at 40%, 50% capacity,” said Infante-Green. “It makes sense for our district to have new schools.”

According to Infante-Green, parents will have the ability to choose where their child will attend. Factors, including transportation, walkability, and proximity will all be taken into consideration.

Committee members Thursday expressed concern that school closures would hurt the future of students’ education — and Rhode Island as a result.

“50 years of school mess up, do we need another 5 years of that?” asked Rep. Anastisia Williams.

Infante-Green also said they will keep duo-lingo and special education students at the same schools.

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