PROVIDENCE, R.I. - Governor Gina M. Raimondo today highlighted the details of her proposed School Building Authority, which will put people back to work modernizing Rhode Island schools so that our students are learning in safe, clean, warm, and dry facilities.
"We need to put people back to work, and our children need modern schools, so we're making it a priority to invest in school construction," Governor Raimondo said. "These investments will help spark an economic recovery and strengthen our state now and in the long term."
"As a former elementary school teacher who worked in a crumbling school building, I know the impact it has on students, teachers and the entire community," General Treasurer Magaziner said. "I am proud to be working with the Governor and Senate President on a plan to fix our schools with smart financing that will also put people back to work and boost Rhode Island's economy."
"I applaud Governor Raimondo for placing a priority on ending the moratorium and funding construction of modern schools," said Senate President Paiva Weed. "This has been a priority for the Senate. The Pell School is an example of how schools can be designed to incorporate technology and efficiency." "We are very glad to host Governor Raimondo in Newport today to showcase the Pell School," said Mayor Napolitano. "I'm confident that a School Building Authority will help create more quality learning environments like this one."
The Governor's proposal increases Rhode Island's school construction appropriation to $90 million this year, and commits to appropriate $80 million annually thereafter. This will create more fiscal stability and enable the state to make smarter decisions about where to invest resources each year to tackle the most critical projects. The Governor also called for the creation of a Capital Fund, an additional financing mechanism to help communities gain access to capital, seeded with $20 million from the proposed debt restructuring.
The plan will begin with an honest, independent and professional school facility assessment, and will create baseline adequacy standards for all Rhode Island schools.
The average age of school facilities in Rhode Island is 60 years old, and major equity gaps persist across the state - even within districts. The Governor's proposed School Building Authority office within RIDE will create a partnership with cities and towns and a dialogue to prioritize and address our most critical renovation needs.
Governor Raimondo was joined at the Pell School by state, local and school officials including Treasurer Magaziner, Senate President Paiva Weed, and Mayor Napolitano.