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Mayor Grebien and Governor Raimondo Tour Pawtucket School

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, thr R.I. Department of Education released the 2017 State of Rhode Island Schoolhouses report, 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. 

Governor Raimondo and Robert Bedard, Cunningham Elementary’ s facility manager, discuss improvements and challenges at the school.  

Governor Raimondo, Robert Bedard and Superintendent DiCenso discuss issues with the classroom windows. 

Mayor Grebien, Governor Raimondo, and Superintendent DiCenso visit a classroom. 


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