Reed touts plan to invest in schools

Reed touts plan to invest in schools

U.S. Sen. Jack Reed, flanked by Pawtucket Mayor Donald Grebien, left, Superintendent Patti DiCenso, and Central Falls Mayor James Diossa, emphasizes the need to invest in our schools.

PAWTUCKET – During a tour of local schools in Pawtucket and Central Falls Monday, U.S. Sen. Jack Reed said he got a firsthand look at some of the challenges students, teachers, and principals face when it comes to school infrastructure and how it affects classroom productivity and health.

Reed, who was joined by Pawtucket Mayor Donald Grebien and Superintendent Patti DiCenso, as well as Central Falls Mayor James Diossa, said the condition of school infrastructure has a direct impact on classroom learning environments, and given the enormous scope of need, the federal government needs to step up and be a partner in upgrading public school infrastructure.

“Today, the mayors and I saw some areas of need, as well as members of the community, teachers, and parents all coming together and pitching in to deliver the best for our kids, improve our schools, and make a positive difference,” he said. “And our message today is: The federal government must pitch in too.”

There is a critical need for new federal investment in school infrastructure, he added. Public schools are essential institutions, foundational to democracy and cornerstones of the economy, he said. Reed recently introduced the Rebuild America’s Schools Act, a proposal to invest $100 billion in the physical and digital infrastructure of schools across America. His bill would provide $70 billion in direct federal funding for school repairs and rebuilding, along with $30 billion in tax-credit bonds. The bill would authorize new federal grants for communities such as Pawtucket and Central Falls to build new schools and repair existing ones, and develop a national database on the current condition of public schools.

Monday’s tour included stops at Winters Elementary School in Pawtucket, which is slated to close at the end of the year, and Captain Hunt School in Central Falls.