Pawtucket – Today, Governor Gina M. Raimondo toured M. Virginia Cunningham
Elementary School with Mayor Donald R. Grebien, Superintendent Patti DiCenso,
Representative Mary Duffy Messier, Representative Jean Philippe Barros and School
Committee Members Michael Araujo and Elena Vasquez and discussed school facility
upgrades and investments.
Through the leadership and support of the City Council, School Committee and
Superintendent DiCenso, the City has been reinvesting in its aging school facilities
and infrastructure. The voters of Pawtucket approved a $32 million school bond in
2014 which is funding two full school renovations and other improvements.
Potter Burns Elementary students and teachers returned to a renovated school this
year that had almost $14 million in improvements. Nathanael Greene Elementary is
undergoing a similar renovation this year, while its students continue learning at
the Annex building.
«While we are making progress, there is still much work to be done to provide all of
our students with a 21st century learning environment that they need and deserve,»
said Mayor Grebien. «We have been able to heavily invest in Pawtucket due to the
reimbursement on school construction from the State. I applaud the Governor for
recognizing the need and working to make additional funding available.»
«The renovation and upgrades to our schools is truly a milestone for Pawtucket,»
said Superintendent Patti DiCenso. «Investing tens of millions of dollars is no easy
task for any community when every dollar is stretched, but it is an investment in
our students, our teachers and our school culture which pays back exponentially.»
All of Pawtucket’s schools saw some updates over the past school year including new
desks, chairs, whiteboards and safety and security improvements. Many of the schools
throughout the district are over fifty years old, including Cunningham Elementary.
In addition, the School Department has seen the need for its school buildings to
incorporate technology to ensure students develop 21st century skills. The district
implemented a 1 to1 computer/tablet program in grades three through twelve. Computer
carts are used in kindergarten, first and second grade.
In September 2017, the R.I. Department of Education released the 2017 State of Rhode
which forecasts $627.6 million in high-priority construction and repairs needed
statewide to keep students and teachers warm, safe and dry in their classrooms. The
statewide cost to bring all school buildings into ideal condition is estimated at
$2.2 billion. Governor Raimondo created the School Building Task Force to address
these issues and make recommendations.