Mayor's address does not offer ideas for struggling schools

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PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) — Providence Mayor Jorge Elorza did not include a plan for the city's struggling public schools in his annual State of the City address.

In a speech before the City Council on Monday, Elorza entered his sixth year as mayor touting a “New Providence” amid Education Commissioner Angélica Infante-Green's recent seizure of the school district.

Elorza lauded the city's record investments in public parks and infrastructure and its improved customer service for residents and businesses.

“Regardless of what the challenge is, the New Providence will meet the urgency of the moment,” Elorza said in his prepared remarks.

Halfway through the speech, the mayor mentioned the state's November takeover of the 20,000-student school district.

Elorza acknowledged that his administration and those before it “never managed to break through and bring about the change that was needed.”

He added, "Even with the uncertainty that comes with a total district turnaround, our commitment to public education remains as firm as it has ever been.” But the mayor did not divulge any plans to ensure the takeover addresses the district's major downfalls.

City Council President Sabina Matos said Tuesday that while the progress the city has made overall is noteworthy, “we have yet to turn the page on our most stubbornly daunting issues,” including the fact that “our education system is the subject of national scrutiny.”

The state takeover followed a scathing report released in June from researchers at Johns Hopkins University that found the district beleaguered with low test scores, crumbling infrastructure and widespread dysfunction.

The education commissioner said at the time that she wasn’t comfortable sending her children to any school in the city.


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