Proposal for elected school board in Providence to be heard Tuesday

PROVIDENCE, Rhode Island (WLNE) — The Providence City Commission is expected to hear proposals for an elected school board for Providence schools Tuesday.

The proposed board would aim to improve some of the issues that have plagued the district for years.

The proposal includes having non-partisan elections for five regions: north, south, east, west, and central. Each region would elect two school board members, for a total of 10 members, serving on three, four-year term limits for board members.

Right now, board members are nominated by the mayor.

This proposal would change that and allow the people to elect who represents them, by splitting the city up into five regions and strengthen education in Providence by giving parents the chance to decide who represents them.

“There’s nothing as important as a child’s education. Parents deserve to have input on how that information and education is going to deliver,” Enid Watson, a Providence resident with nieces and nephews in the school district.

Providence City Council president John Igliozzi, who is also chair of the Charter Review Committee which will hear the proposals, called them a way to hold schools more accountable.

Right now, school committee members have no voting power since the state’s takeover of Providence schools in 2019.

“That accountably will happen, and people will be more accountable to get the system moving forward. Quite frankly, the school system is in serious trouble, and we need to do everything we can to support the state to turn it around,” Igliozzi said.

The recommendations come after Providence gathered feedback from the public and elected officials on how they want education to be improved.

The meeting starts at 5:30 p.m. at City Hall in room 305.

If the proposal for an elected school board moves forward Tuesday, the city council will then vote on whether to put the question on the ballot, before voters make the final decision. If the proposal passes through all its hoops, Igliozzi said the first elections for school boards in Providence could be by the next election cycle.

“Every neighborhood has a seat at the table. And this way it helps with that conversation. It helps with the planning. And has more voices and involvement of our school system,” Igliozzi said.

 

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