CENTRAL FALLS, R.I. (WPRI) — School districts around Rhode Island are set to receive more funding as part of the state’s “Facility Equity Initiative.”
When the campaign was launched last October, it initially provided funding to five districts with the highest reimbursement rates: Central Falls, Pawtucket, Providence, West Warwick, and Woonsocket.
Those districts received close to $13.4 million in funding for 26 projects across 17 schools, serving more than 11,000 students. That funding was used for things like new science labs, media centers, community rooms, and updated technology for classrooms.
Rhode Island Education Commissioner Angélica Infante-Green and other officials were on hand Thursday to tour some of the upgrades at Calcutt Middle School in Central Falls through the first round of funding.
“This is what our kids across the state of Rhode Island deserve, no matter what ZIP code or where they are,” Infante-Green said.
They also announced $30 million for the second round of funding, calling the investment important for the future of education.
“What you see is us leaving the status quo behind, chair by chair, brick by brick,” she added. “We love to see and hear that all these funds are making a difference.”
The following districts will receive funding in the second round: Burrillville, Cranston, Coventry, East Providence and North Providence.
“Too long our students have been stuck with classrooms that don’t fit the needs of our 21st century learning. Thanks to the Facility Equity Initiative, we are changing that,” Central Falls Mayor Maria Rivera said.
As part of Rhode Island’s commitment to equitable business practices, districts where minority business enterprises (MBEs) comprise at least 15% of the businesses engaged as part of their project will receive an additional 10% reimbursement, with projects in the communities most in need remaining 100% funded by the state.