Ruggerio, Goodwin, Lombardi Skip Elorza’s State of City Over Teacher Picket

Wednesday, February 07, 2018
GoLocalProv News Team and Kate Nagle

PTU President Maribeth Calabro addresses the crowd at Providence City Hall Tuesday night.
Senate President Dominick Ruggerio, State Senator Maryellen Goodwin, and State Representative John Lombardi did not attend Providence Mayor Jorge Elorza's State of the City speech address Tuesday night, in light of the Providence Teachers Union picket.

Hundreds of teachers packed Providence City Hall ahead of the address -- and Lombardi, who formerly served as City Council President and Interim Mayor, showed up to speak with teachers, and then left. 

"I'm not staying. I'm not crossing that line," Lombardi told GoLocal. 

PTU President Maribeth Calabro told the crowd assembled that Ruggerio and Goodwin, who like Lombardi all represent parts of Providence, would not be in attendance for Elorza's address.

"They both sent me messages," Calabro told GoLocal. 

Calabro on Record

“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," said Calabro " 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.”

Calabro 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 straight.”

Teachers repeatedly shouted down Elorza and forced him to restart his speech.

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