East Providence unveils new high school plan
Built in 1952, East Providence High School is by any measurement crumbling.
"It is really rotting, and we need to do something," said Superintendent of Schools Kathryn Crowley.
There's much more beyond broken tiles, a rusty heating system and substandard electrical wiring. Officials say the dated building as a whole is failing the city's students.
"The underlying is this isn't how we teach anymore in our schools," said school committee member Jessica Beauchaine. "This is not fixable any longer."
So they're proposing a brand new $190 million high school on the same property--featuring maker spaces, state-of-the-art science labs, interactive learning centers and high-tech security. It would open in the fall of 2021.
"We're looking to really be the first high school in the state of Rhode island with a 21st century model," said Crowley.
If Rhode Island voters approve $250 million in state bond money for school construction, the state could cover up to $100 million of the school's cost--meaning the tax impact on families in East Providence would be $130 to $200 a year.
"We see the condition the high school is in now," said parent Jen Germano. "I think it's worth it. An extra $20 a month for a new high school? Why not."
Residents we spoke to were supportive of the plan.
"I think the school committee is really addressing the concerns that people have had," said grandparent Sally Erskine.
Some went so far as to say they'd move away if the school isn't built.
"This is a critical factor for me in whether we stay in East Providence long term," said Jenn Ullucci.
We did hear concerns about whether the new school would be maintained properly, given that the current high school clearly hasn't been. But officials pointed out that for East Providence to receive that state money, 15% of their operating budget must go toward school maintenance.
Voters will ultimately decide the fate of this plan when it goes on the ballot in November.
© WLNE-TV / ABC6 2018