PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — The Senate Oversight Committee held another hours-long hearing on the Providence Public Schools takeover.
This was the second quarterly hearing of the year, Chairman Sen. Louis Dipalma said the committee will continue holding them until the Turnaround Action plan is complete.
Frustrations and questions surrounding the progress since the take over continue to rise.
Education Commissioner Angélica Infante-Green and Providence Superintendent Javier Montañez took turns making opening remarks to the committee, sharing the latest data and metrics on the district.
“We started hiring sessions with 50% more vacancies this year in 2021 than we had last year, but now we are in better shape than we were last year at this point,” Montañez said.
As of April, school officials said the district still has 111 teacher vacancies, which includes classroom positions, social workers and psychologists.
District leaders say they are working to hire for the upcoming school year.
This time, they are posting jobs much sooner and “early, open hiring enables school leaders to hire when the candidate pool is most diverse and effective.”
DiPalma asked Montañez what lawmakers can do to help.
“Let me think about it, when I come back I am going to let you know exactly what we can do together to help out,” he replied. “It’s not about you helping me, it’s about us helping the children. So, that’s where it ends for me.”
“Superintendent, I understand it, but you’re the lead dog on the sled … we want to be able to help you,” DiPalma said.
After hours of back-and-forth between lawmakers and district leaders, there was hours of public testimony.
The Providence Teachers Union has notably been very vocal about being against the takeover, and many members testified Monday night.