Providence City Council approves $140M school bond referendum

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WLNE) — In a special called meeting by Providence City Council on Friday, councilors voted and passed  a $140 million bond referendum for school-improvement projects across the city.

The $140 million bond would fund the five-year School Capital Plan for city schools. A majority of the bond would be spent on fire code corrections. The funds would also address roof, walls, and window repairs, HVAC/electrical improvements, as well as ensuring accessible entrances.

Seven schools would be the focus of the funds:

  • Lillian Feinstein Elementary
  • Martin Luther King Jr. Elementary
  • Vartan Gregorian Elementary
  • Gilbert Stuart Middle
  • Alfred Lima Elementary
  • Charles Fortes Elementary
  • Carl Lauro Elementary

“We know that every investment in our youth is an investment in the future of our City,” said Mayor Jorge Elorza. “We have a unique opportunity before us now to create the welcoming, dynamic and inspiring spaces our youth and families have advocated for years. That’s why in partnership with the Providence City Council, I am prioritizing this $140 million investment as another step towards building the innovative, 21st century education system our community needs.”

Voters approved of a similar bond in 2018 to invest $160 million in Providence Public Schools. Details on where the money has been spent can be found here.

The city has promised to invest up to $400 million in school infrastructure over 10 years.

Council President Sabina Matos stated, “We need to do all we can to help our City’s students achieve their maximum potential.”

Before the referendum can officially be added to the November 3, 2020 ballot for consideration, it must first be sent to the Board of Canvassers and then the Secretary of State’s Office. Legislation must be approved by the General Assembly for these projects to be reimbursement eligible.  H8118 was introduced in the House on July 23 and introduction is pending in the Senate.

Categories: Back to School, News, Politics, Regional News, Rhode Island