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Community questions hastiness of school closings process

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
West Side Public Education Coalition, 68 Dorrance Street, Suite 322, Providence, RI 02903
Community questions hastiness of school closings process
West side residents ask School Board to ensure accuracy, transparency, community input

Providence, Rhode Island – March 28, 2011 – On the tail of its successful march of over 150 parents, teachers, students, and residents two days ago, the West Side Public Education Coalition will provide evidence and ask questions tonight at a School Board hearing on the proposed closing of Messer Elementary School and Annex.
WSPEC members will present research obtained from past studies on Providence school facilities that were solicited and paid for by the City and School Department as recent as last year. The group seeks to demonstrate to School Board members that there is a critical lack of due diligence and consideration on the proposed school closings with respect to data collected on population growth and facilities adequacy contained in these reports.
Most startlingly, the 2010 Facilities Master Plan Demographic study solicited by Providence Schools shows a significant projected increase in pre-school aged children in Providence for 2012. The report states: “This is interesting demographically since these changes are somewhat different than what is being experienced in the rest of Rhode Island, New England, and the United States.... Providence is the only area to experience an increase in the pre-school cohort.” The report further states that the Central Planning Area that includes parts of the west side is the only area in the city that is projected to experience an increase in school-aged children for 2012.
Because of this and other data that belies serious oversights and a flawed decision making process on school closings, the group argues, the School Board should demand more time to allow for careful analysis of current and future enrollment numbers, recommendations in the school department’s 2010 Facilities Master Plan, and community input that is foundational to a democratic process and to the current and future health of our school system.
The Providence School Board is charged with voting on the proposal as soon as April 25.
"As west side students, families and residents, we are the most impacted by these school closings. We plead with the School Board to uphold the sanctity of this process by delaying the vote or voting against the proposal,” said Matt Gabor, WSPEC member and parent of two preschoolers. “As constituents we demand a careful, well-researched plan for Providence’s public schools that will not only endure the current fiscal crisis but ensure quality schools in our community as well as the future health and economic viability of the city.”
WSPEC, a grassroots group of community members and parents, proposed multiple questions to Mayor Angel Taveras and Superintendent Tom Brady this past Saturday at a community forum on school closings. The series of questions, posted on its website at www.wspec.org, are at the center of the group’s investigation into the process behind the Mayor Taveras’ proposed solutions to Providence’s education budget shortfall.
The group is eagerly awaiting a response as was promised by Mayor Taveras and the school department. Representatives from Superintendent Brady’s office indicated this morning that they would be posting answers “shortly” although they would not indicate any specific time estimate.
Tonight’s School Board hearing to review the proposed closing of Asa Messer Elementary School and Asa Messer Annex takes place from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. at John Hope Settlement House, 7 Thomas P. Whitten Way.
The West Side Public Education Coalition is dedicated to ensuring high quality public education opportunities for all students on the west side of Providence regardless of background, economic class, race, or ethnicity. Through an unprecedented collaboration between families, educators, students, community residents, local businesses, and public officials, we advocate for outstanding public schools, effective education policies, and 21st century learning environments. We believe that a commitment to fostering high achieving, innovative, neighborhood schools will guarantee the health and vitality of our community.
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WBNA Enews March 29, 2011

ENEWS March 29, 2011

JOIN THE SCHOOL BOARD

Anyone interested in public education and shaping the future of Providence schools? Providence’s School Board has an opening.  Consider it a great way to make a difference and experience public service, especially in light of recent announcements surrounding our West Side Public Schools.  Deadline to apply is this Friday, April 1.
http://cityof.providenceri.com/mayor/commission-launches-search-to-fill-school-board

Also, if you haven’t already, go to www.wspec.org to keep up with what’s happening on our neighborhood schools.  The West Side Public Education Coalition is asking West Side neighbors go to their site and take a short survey.  WBNA has been working in collaboration and as a member of WSPEC.

ANY WBNA MEMBERS LOOKING FOR A GARDEN PLOT?

Membership in the WBNA Westminster/Bridgham Street Community Garden is available to WBNA members.  The annual garden membership fee is $45, which includes use of a 4’ x 16’ plot, free water, annual compost delivery, membership in South Side Community Land Trust’s Providence Community Growers’ Network and many other benefits.  Gardeners are required to maintain their plot from May through October each year, help with maintenance of shared spaces in the garden, and partiacipate in three annual garden work days (spring, summer and fall).  Membership is available on a first come first serve basis to WBNA members in good standing.  To become a garden member, contact garden coordinator Rachel Newman Greene at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

SAVETHE DATE SWELL Soiree:  An Open House Celebrating the Grand Opening of 1577 Westminster Street, Friday, May 6 from 5:30-9:00 PM

Tour the long-awaited new construction at 1577 Westminster Street.  Attend a ribbon cutting ceremony with Mayor Angel Taveras.  See the future home of Fertile Underground Grocery, the West Side’s first ever affordable, natural foods grocery. View the supportive housing apartments owned and managed by SpurwinkRI. PARTY at the SWELL Soiree hosted by the WBNA and SpurwinkRI. FREE AND OPEN TO THE PUBLIC.

P.S.  Help make the Fertile Underground Grocery Happen by going to: kickstarter.com/projects/funderground/fertile-underground-grocery

Neighborhood-wide Spring Clean-up: Saturday April 16, 8:30am-1:00pm. We are looking for Street Captains to volunteer to lead the clean-up on your street.  It is easy and fun.  Go to http://www.wbna.org/grassroots-activities/317-spring-cleanup to find out the basics about our annual clean-up and what it means to be a street captain.  Contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. if you would like to be a spring clean-up street captain.

WBNA Annual Neighborhood-Wide Yard Sale: Speaking of spring cleaning….Clean out your neglected treasures (stuff, quality junk, etc.) and sell your unloved items during the WBNA Annual Neighborhood-wide Yard Sale on Saturday, May 21st from 8:30am-1:00pm.  For just $10 you get a spot on the Official Neighborhood Yard Sale Map, advertising, and an official city yard sale permit.  This map will be handed out FREE of charge at local West Side businesses, and at the WBNA and all participating sales.  The map will also be online.  To get your address on the map go to http://www.wbna.org/join , when you select member level in the drop down menu, choose Yard Sale Listing $10.  While you are there, if you are not yet a member, sign up to become a WBNA member too!  Not to mention being part of one of the “funnest” events of the year and a few extra sheckles to your pocket.  Help us meet our goal of 50 sales on the map!

Don’t feel like selling? No problem.  Donate your tax-deductible items to the WBNA for our sale that same day at the WBNA Headquarters/Yard Sale Central.  If you have any ITEMS to donate to the WBNA yard sale please call 831-9344 or email  This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. with details of donations.  All proceeds from the yard sale benefit the WBNA.

 

Quality of Life issues: Our neighbors in Elmwood have drafted a petition to help “Increase fines and penalties for loud Boom Cars”.  Lt. San Lucas, Providence Police District Commander for our neighborhood, supports this petition.  Please click here to sign the petition http://www.ipetitions.com/petition/nomoreboomscarsprovidence/

 

WBNA Enews March 29, 2011

ENEWS March 29, 2011

JOIN THE SCHOOL BOARD

Anyone interested in public education and shaping the future of Providence schools? Providence’s School Board has an opening.  Consider it a great way to make a difference and experience public service, especially in light of recent announcements surrounding our West Side Public Schools.  Deadline to apply is this Friday, April 1.
http://cityof.providenceri.com/mayor/commission-launches-search-to-fill-school-board

Also, if you haven’t already, go to www.wspec.org to keep up with what’s happening on our neighborhood schools.  The West Side Public Education Coalition is asking West Side neighbors go to their site and take a short survey.  WBNA has been working in collaboration and as a member of WSPEC.

ANY WBNA MEMBERS LOOKING FOR A GARDEN PLOT?

Membership in the WBNA Westminster/Bridgham Street Community Garden is available to WBNA members.  The annual garden membership fee is $45, which includes use of a 4’ x 16’ plot, free water, annual compost delivery, membership in South Side Community Land Trust’s Providence Community Growers’ Network and many other benefits.  Gardeners are required to maintain their plot from May through October each year, help with maintenance of shared spaces in the garden, and partiacipate in three annual garden work days (spring, summer and fall).  Membership is available on a first come first serve basis to WBNA members in good standing.  To become a garden member, contact garden coordinator Rachel Newman Greene at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

SAVETHE DATE SWELL Soiree:  An Open House Celebrating the Grand Opening of 1577 Westminster Street, Friday, May 6 from 5:30-9:00 PM

Tour the long-awaited new construction at 1577 Westminster Street.  Attend a ribbon cutting ceremony with Mayor Angel Taveras.  See the future home of Fertile Underground Grocery, the West Side’s first ever affordable, natural foods grocery. View the supportive housing apartments owned and managed by SpurwinkRI. PARTY at the SWELL Soiree hosted by the WBNA and SpurwinkRI. FREE AND OPEN TO THE PUBLIC.

P.S.  Help make the Fertile Underground Grocery Happen by going to: kickstarter.com/projects/funderground/fertile-underground-grocery

Neighborhood-wide Spring Clean-up: Saturday April 16, 8:30am-1:00pm. We are looking for Street Captains to volunteer to lead the clean-up on your street.  It is easy and fun.  Go to http://www.wbna.org/grassroots-activities/317-spring-cleanup to find out the basics about our annual clean-up and what it means to be a street captain.  Contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. if you would like to be a spring clean-up street captain.

 

WBNA Annual Neighborhood-Wide Yard Sale: Speaking of spring cleaning….Clean out your neglected treasures (stuff, quality junk, etc.) and sell your unloved items during the WBNA Annual Neighborhood-wide Yard Sale on Saturday, May 21st from 8:30am-1:00pm.  For just $10 you get a spot on the Official Neighborhood Yard Sale Map, advertising, and an official city yard sale permit.  This map will be handed out FREE of charge at local West Side businesses, and at the WBNA and all participating sales.  The map will also be online.  To get your address on the map go to http://www.wbna.org/join , when you select member level in the drop down menu, choose Yard Sale Listing $10.  While you are there, if you are not yet a member, sign up to become a WBNA member too!  Not to mention being part of one of the “funnest” events of the year and a few extra sheckles to your pocket.  Help us meet our goal of 50 sales on the map!

 

Don’t feel like selling? No problem.  Donate your tax-deductible items to the WBNA for our sale that same day at the WBNA Headquarters/Yard Sale Central.  If you have any ITEMS to donate to the WBNA yard sale please call 831-9344 or email  This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. with details of donations.  All proceeds from the yard sale benefit the WBNA.

 

Quality of Life issues: Our neighbors in Elmwood have drafted a petition to help “Increase fines and penalties for loud Boom Cars”.  Lt. San Lucas, Providence Police District Commander for our neighborhood, supports this petition.  Please click here to sign the petition http://www.ipetitions.com/petition/nomoreboomscarsprovidence/

 

Take two minutes of your time for the West Side

Hi Neighbors,
I know we don't all have time in our busy days for lengthy explanations so before I get into the "why" here's the "what":
Go to www.wspec.org and fill out the two minute online survey. If you've got a few more minutes, sign up for the email list and mark your calendar for Saturday's March to the Community Forum from Hudson Street Market at 8am.
Now here's the important news about what's going on in our community...
Nearly two weeks ago, the Providence Public School District and Mayor Taveras proposed closing 6 public schools. 4 of them (3 elementary and 1 middle school) serve our neighborhood.
No matter what you plan to do for your children's education, having viable neighborhood public schools on the west side has a profound impact on the health and stability of our community. Looking further into the future, supporting neighborhood schools also protects the Mayor's tax base, as residents are likely to flee an area of the city that does not have viable schools thereby driving down property values and tax revenues.
Community advocates have been telling the City and School Dept for years that our neighborhood is experiencing a baby boom and that we need to support our neighborhood public schools in order to support the health of our neighborhood and the city as a whole.
In an effort to demonstrate to the Mayor and to the school department the existence of this baby boom and the potential threat to the city's coffers, we are collecting some information.
PLEASE HELP by going to the new West Side Public Education Coalition (WSPEC) website at www.wspec.org and fill out the online survey! It will take, literally, two minutes of your time.  If you have closer to five minutes you can also sign up for the mailing list to stay informed and read about upcoming events like THIS SATURDAY'S march to the community forum from Hudson Street Market at 8am.
Again, the goal is to paint a picture to the city of the children that will be disenfranchised by closing our schools. Through this survey, we hope to demonstrate the number of real children living on the West Side who will be affected by these decisions.
Collecting information is vital.  Please fill out the survey even if your children do not attend Providence public schools! We need to hear from ALL members of the community on the issue of our public schools, whether you intend to send your children to public schools or not.
The groups and individuals represented by WSPEC have been working hard over the past few years to develop a plan to promote high-performing neighborhood schools on the west side which will help ALL neighbors, kids or no kids, public-school-educated or not. The stability of our neighborhood depends on having viable public school options in our community.
Make your voice count.  Get involved and help save our community.
Thanks for your time and your help!
Your neighbor,
Judi Jeroslow

Take two minutes of your time for the West Side

Hi Neighbors,
I know we don't all have time in our busy days for lengthy explanations so before I get into the "why" here's the "what":
Go to www.wspec.org and fill out the two minute online survey. If you've got a few more minutes, sign up for the email list and mark your calendar for Saturday's March to the Community Forum from Hudson Street Market at 8am.
Now here's the important news about what's going on in our community...
Nearly two weeks ago, the Providence Public School District and Mayor Taveras proposed closing 6 public schools. 4 of them (3 elementary and 1 middle school) serve our neighborhood.
No matter what you plan to do for your children's education, having viable neighborhood public schools on the west side has a profound impact on the health and stability of our community. Looking further into the future, supporting neighborhood schools also protects the Mayor's tax base, as residents are likely to flee an area of the city that does not have viable schools thereby driving down property values and tax revenues.
Community advocates have been telling the City and School Dept for years that our neighborhood is experiencing a baby boom and that we need to support our neighborhood public schools in order to support the health of our neighborhood and the city as a whole.
In an effort to demonstrate to the Mayor and to the school department the existence of this baby boom and the potential threat to the city's coffers, we are collecting some information.
PLEASE HELP by going to the new West Side Public Education Coalition (WSPEC) website at www.wspec.org and fill out the online survey! It will take, literally, two minutes of your time.  If you have closer to five minutes you can also sign up for the mailing list to stay informed and read about upcoming events like THIS SATURDAY'S march to the community forum from Hudson Street Market at 8am.
Again, the goal is to paint a picture to the city of the children that will be disenfranchised by closing our schools. Through this survey, we hope to demonstrate the number of real children living on the West Side who will be affected by these decisions.
Collecting information is vital.  Please fill out the survey even if your children do not attend Providence public schools! We need to hear from ALL members of the community on the issue of our public schools, whether you intend to send your children to public schools or not.
The groups and individuals represented by WSPEC have been working hard over the past few years to develop a plan to promote high-performing neighborhood schools on the west side which will help ALL neighbors, kids or no kids, public-school-educated or not. The stability of our neighborhood depends on having viable public school options in our community.
Make your voice count.  Get involved and help save our community.
Thanks for your time and your help!
Your neighbor,
Judi Jeroslow
Join the WBNA!

The WBNA organizes neighbors and businesses on the West Side of Providence to preserve and promote our diverse, historic, urban community as a safe, vibrant, and sustainable place to live, work, and play.

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