PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — Providence Mayor Jorge Elorza has vetoed a proposal by the City Council that would make changes to the city charter.
The proposal includes 10 ballot questions that residents would vote on in November, including one that would expand the Providence school board to 10 seats and make half of them electable. The mayor vetoed the resolution on Friday, citing concerns with politicizing the school board.
“I believe that having elections for school board members is a terrible idea,” Elorza said. “That is why I am standing with education leaders, parents and community members to veto this proposal.”
The current school board is comprised of nine members, all of which are appointed by the mayor. City Council President John Igliozzi said Elorza’s veto is anti-democratic.
“Unfortunately, as the mayor unilaterally gave up control of the school department years ago, he is unilaterally denying the people of Providence the right to vote on all of the ballot questions,” Igliozzi said.
The mayor and community members at a news conference Friday said the City Council didn’t do enough outreach to stakeholders when drafting the proposal. But the Igliozzi said constituents could have attended community meetings to voice their concerns.
Elorza also said those who wish to run for the school board would require significant resources, limiting the pool of people who would have the means to run for a seat. The mayor said the process would make the board “less reflective of our city.”
The deadline to submit ballot questions to the secretary of state’s office is Aug. 10, giving the City Council a limited timeline to determine if they will override the veto.