Providence, RI -
Providence public school teachers picketed Mayor Jorge Elorza’s State of City
address on Tuesday night to
shed light on his unwillingness to invest in Providence public schools,
teachers, and students. The
Providence Teachers Union [PTU] has been negotiating in good faith to obtain a
contract that is fair to teachers, students, and taxpayers since last February.
But in recent weeks, despite significant progress toward an agreement, the
Mayor and his administration have reneged on many of their previous offers –
showing their refusal to negotiate in good faith.
Calabro, President of the Providence Teachers Union, stated, “Here are the
facts. One, Mayor Elorza has given unbudgeted salary increases to top level
school district administrators. Two, Mayor Elorza supports spending $35 million
a year of school district funding to expand the Achievement First charter
school. Three, he has hired six school culture coordinators at a cost of
approximately $500,000. And four, the City has needlessly spent more than $1
million on the employee time tracking system NovaTime. So the Mayor has no
problem spending millions of dollars on raises for upper management, charter
schools, and other non-essential services, yet he refuses to invest in the very
people who educate our children. And this is all despite the School District’s
budget that allocated raises for teachers, a $10 million surplus, and raises
for other municipal employees.”
continued, “Providence teacher morale is the lowest it’s been in years, but we
have remained focused on providing the best education possible for students.
We’re working in some of the most deplorable classroom conditions throughout
the state. Despite working in these extremely difficult and sometimes unsafe
conditions, we are still some of the lowest paid teachers in the state due to
several pay freezes in previous contracts. This lack of respect for the
teachers and support professionals who educate Providence’s children is
unprofessional and unacceptable. Mayor Elorza needs to get his priorities
Providence Teachers Union’s last contract expired on August 31, 2017. They have
been working without a contract since.