General Treasurer Seth Magaziner is celebrating the overwhelming support from voters in passing the School Construction Bond referenda in Central Falls and Portsmouth.
One of Treasurer Magaziner’s key 2021 legislative priorities was a bill the Treasurer introduced in partnership with Mayor Maria Rivera, Senator Jonathon Acosta, and Representative Joshua Giraldo that will enable the City of Central Falls to fund the construction of a new state-of-the-art high school.
As co-chair of the Rhode Island School Building Task Force, Treasurer Magaziner led the development of a once-in-a-generation plan to repair or replace Rhode Island’s crumbling public school buildings. The statewide school construction program was approved overwhelmingly by voters in 2018 and has already allocated $1.4 billion to repair or replace 176 school buildings in communities across the state, creating 23,500 up-front jobs and benefitting over 95,000 Rhode Island students annually.
“All students deserve to attend schools that are safe, warm, dry, and equipped for 21st century learning and Rhode Islanders understand that investing in our schools and in our students is how we build a strong economy for the future,” said General Treasurer Seth Magaziner in a statement. “High-quality school facilities not only lead to better attendance, reading levels, and test scores, but the COVID-19 pandemic has underscored the effect school buildings have on the physical health of students as well.”
61.93% of Portsmouth voters (2,164) voted to approve question 1 on Tuesday, which allows the town to borrow an amount not to exceed $21,439,299 to finance the construction, additions, renovation, improvement, alteration, repair, furnishing and equipping of schools and school facilities throughout the Town.
Magaziner says that the Portsmouth school construction bond will be used to finance up to $21.4 million in public school projects, including air quality improvements, renovated bathrooms, improved accessibility, and other repairs at Melville Elementary School, Hathaway Elementary School, Portsmouth Middle School, and Portsmouth High School. Most importantly, Portsmouth will receive a 40% reimbursement (approximately $8.6 million) from the Rhode Island Department of Education to offset the cost of the projects.
In Central Falls, 89.3% of voters (318) voted to approve Question 1.
The Central Falls school construction bond will create better learning environments for students and teachers at Captain Hunt Preschool, Ella Risk Elementary School, Veterans Memorial Elementary School, the Raices Dual Language Academy at Robertson, and Calcutt Middle School. The new Central Falls High School, still under design, will have better STEAM facilities and career and technical education programs to help prepare students to succeed in the workforce of the future.