Will the business community step up to save Providence schools?
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Happy Wednesday and welcome to Rhode Map, your daily guide to everything happening in the Ocean State. I’m Dan McGowan and I’m not ready for presidential debate season. Follow me on Twitter @DanMcGowan or send tips to Dan.McGowan@globe.com.
If the disturbing report on Providence schools that was released Tuesday doesn’t convince you that the district is in need of a dramatic overhaul, chances are nothing will.
But as new Education Commissioner Angélica Infante-Green makes the rounds to publicly discuss the report’s findings in the coming weeks, she and Governor Gina Raimondo are planning to spend just as much time privately lobbying Rhode Island’s business leaders to offer more support to Providence schools than they have in the past.
So what will that look like?
The Partnership for Rhode Island, a business group whose board includes a collection of bankers and CEOs of the state’s largest companies, agreed to pay Johns Hopkins University to conduct the Providence review. Executive director Tom Giordano said there is now a “100 percent expectation that there will be real items that need to be supported.”
Giordano said that could include his members offering their expertise to Providence, helping to recruit new leadership, or serving on an advisory committee for the district. But don’t be surprised if Infante-Green and Raimondo also come asking for cash.
Raimondo has had success galvanizing the business community in the past, including around pension reform. But it’s no secret that top executives have always been hesitant to invest in Providence schools, in part because of a fear that money will be wasted.
For now, the partnership is playing its cards close to its vest.
“We’re not ready to order because we haven’t seen the menu,” Giordano said.
NEED TO KNOW
Rhode Map wants to hear from you. If you’ve got a scoop or a link to an interesting news story in Rhode Island, e-mail us at RInews@globe.com.
• The reaction to the scathing report on Providence schools has been pouring in since last night. Here’s a roundup of what state and city officials had to say. Commissioner Infante-Green is pulling no punches. At Tuesday’s Council on Elementary and Secondary Education meeting, she made it clear she has no time for adults with bruised egos.
• More bad news on Rhode Island school lunches. My colleague Ed Fitzpatrick reports several school districts are now turning to collection agencies to force parents to pay their kids’ lunch tabs.
• The House of Representatives will not consider a Providence City Council proposal to alter the city’s tax structure before it adjourns Friday, but council leaders say they still intend to make significant changes to Mayor Jorge Elorza’s proposed budget.
• Best wishes to advertising and marketing guru Dante Bellini Jr., who is retiring as executive vice president and partner of RDW Group this week. He is only 61, so he said he’s not planning to move to Florida just yet.
• A big score for Citizens Bank, which has been ranked the third-best bank in the United States by the Reputation Institute and American Banker.
WHAT’S ON TAP TODAY
Each day, Rhode Map offers a cheat sheet breaking down what’s happening in Rhode Island. Have an idea? E-mail us at RInews@globe.com.
• Governor Raimondo, Mayor Elorza, and Commissioner Infante-Green will talk to reporters this morning about how they plan to address Providence schools. But they aren’t expected to release a plan today.
• Calling hours for legendary investigative reporter Jim Taricani are from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. at the Barrett & Cotter Funeral Home in Warwick.
• Need a drink tonight? Skyline is hosting a charity cocktail exhibit and tasting at 6 p.m. to benefit the Rhode Island Community Food Bank. Some of the best bartenders in the city will be in attendance.
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