Central Falls school community rallies for funding at State House
PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WLNE) – The state has directly funded Central Falls Schools since 1991, but now additional uncertainty is forcing cuts.
In response, school community members rallied for change Wednesday at the State House.
Ashley Breault has two young children in Central Falls special education classes, and is upset that teachers have been laid off recently.
“One of the teachers that got laid off was my daughter’s teacher, who did an absolutely amazing job with her,” she said. “My daughter would not be where she is today without that teacher.”
Breault says Central Falls shouldn’t be losing teachers, when the student population is over capacity. She notes that classrooms can have as many as 38 students to each teacher.
Art, music, and phys ed programs — and even school nurses — are on the chopping block.
“These students are going to lose out on the education they deserve to be getting,” she said. “And they’re going to go through school with no music, no art. Some of those things help students stay in school.”
That’s why Breault was involved in the rally, which brought together students, parents, teachers, and administrators.
“We can’t keep coming back every year asking for scraps, asking for what we deserve,” said Central Falls School Board Chair Stephanie Gonzalez. “The community is feeling anxious about acting, about doing something together, collectively, and this is why we’re here.”
They hope the rally sends a message to state that it must invest in future generations — and they are asking for that investment to be $46.5 million. Advocates say that number better reflects growing student enrollment.
“I’m not afraid to stand up and say what I need to say,” Breault said. “And it’s not just for my children or for myself. It’s for all the students and teachers of the Central Falls District.”
Breault started a petition that’s reached about 7,000 signatures.