General Treasurer Seth Magaziner and co-chair Education Commissioner Ken Wagner today led the first meeting of the Rhode Island School Building Task Force to develop a plan to address the mounting infrastructure crisis in school facilities throughout Rhode Island.
"No parent should have to worry that their child isn't safe at any public school in Rhode Island and we have to do more to address this issue before it is too late," said Treasurer Magaziner. "Every single school district in the state has facilities that fail to meet the basic 'warm, safe and dry' standard and that is simply inacceptable."
The meeting included presentations from the Rhode Island Department of Education, as well as finding of a detailed independent school condition assessment conducted by Jacobs Research.
Jacobs identified more than $600 million in repairs needed to meet basic health and safety standards in every Rhode Island school. Further analysis identified more than $2.2 billion in current facility needs, a number which is projected to grow to $4 billion over the next decade if the state continued under its current policy.
"Rhode Islanders simply can't afford to wait any longer to step-up and overcome this challenge once-for-all," continued Treasurer Magaziner. "This is a critical moment when Rhode Island can make this investment, and the cost of inaction, even for a few years, could make the cost of fixing this issue next to impossible."
Governor Gina Raimondo commissioned the Rhode Island School Building Task Force though an executive order earlier in September. The Task Force is charged with developing a plan to address the school building crisis by December 2017.
Members of the Task Force are:
General Treasurer Seth Magaziner, co-chair
Education Commissioner Ken Wagner, co-chair
Hon. Hanna M. Gallo, Senator, District 27, Cranston, on behalf of the Senate
Hon. Marvin L. Abney, Representative, District 73, Newport and Middletown, on behalf of the House of Representatives
Andy Nota, Jamestown Town Administrator on behalf of the League of Cities and Towns
Barry Ricci, Chariho Superintendent, on behalf of the RI Superintendent's Association
Kinzel Thomas, Providence School Board, on behalf of the RI Association of School Committees
Larry Purtill, President, National Education Association of Rhode Island and Member, Council of Elementary and Secondary Education
Frank Flynn, President, Rhode Island Federation of Teachers and Health Professionals
Michael Sabitoni, President, RI Building and Construction Trades Council; Business Manager, Laborers Local 271
Joseph Dewhirst, Chairman, Rhode Island Health and Educational Building Corporation
Michael DiBiase, Director of Administration; School Building Authority Advisory Board
Elizabeth Burke Bryant, Executive Director, Rhode Island KIDS COUNT
Patricia Flanagan, M.D., Pediatrician-in-Chief at Hasbro Children's Hospital and professor of pediatrics at the Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University
Neil Steinberg, President & CEO, Rhode Island Foundation
John Hazen White, Jr., Chairman and Owner, Taco Comfort Solutions
More information on the Rhode Island School Building Task Force, and materials from today's meeting can be found at: treasury.ri.gov/schools
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Evan England, Director of Communications (401) 222-2240 | (401) 439-2199 (mobile) firstname.lastname@example.org