PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WLNE) -- Providence City Council interrupted its August recess for an update on improvements to the dismal conditions in Providence Schools.

"There is a lot of work to be done still," said City Council President Sabina Matos, "But it's good to see that some progress has been made."

Providence Public property director Michael Borg detailed $20 million worth of improvements, including projects that have been in the works for at least a year.

He promises that, despite decades of deferred maintenance and a decision to keep facilities services provider Aramark, schools will be ready.

""We're going to have our schools ready and open for 3 September," Borg said. "They're going to be safe, they're going to be clean, and they're going to be ready to receive students. We have Aramark's commitment, you have my commitment. We're not going to stop working."

Some on the council are not sure different departments are working together efficiently enough to meet that deadline.

"I haven't seen that process," said Majority Leader Jo–Ann Ryan. "To me that's a problem. And I don't have confidence that we're ready to open on day one."

The new interim superintendent agrees communication is a major obstacle.

"I don't think there's enough communication in our schools, school to city, school to the mayor, school to the state," said Superintendent Dr. Frances Gallo. "It needs to happen far more readily."

City council members say publicly communicating progress is crucial to ensuring the work stays on track for September 3rd.

"I will be confident at some point," said Councilman David Salvatore. "I do think we have to continue these hearings and as I've stated in the past, the City Council does have a role here."

Council President Matos says she hopes to hold more special meetings before students return.



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