From The Office of Nirva LaFortune:

“Today, at a special meeting of the City Council, I voted to sustain the Mayor’s veto of the proposed charter amendments, one of which was a proposal to put the question of a hybrid-model school board to the voters in November.

 

I am required to share my thoughts via statement because a joint effort by the Council President and Councilwoman Ryan prevented me from doing so at today’s special meeting. Today’s actions by the Council President were disrespectful, problematic, and a form of institutional oppression. The Council President dispensed with the responsibilities of his role in favor of political gamesmanship, and in doing so, silenced one of the voices on the Council with a child currently in the Providence Public Schools and another child who graduated during the height of the pandemic. Furthermore, I am a graduate of PPSD, an educator, and hold a graduate degree in Urban Education Policy.

 

I am in favor of a hybrid school board. In fact, I brought the idea of a hybrid model up at the start of the charter review process. I have experienced in my own campaign for Mayor how much financial and social capital it requires to run a campaign for public office and how difficult it can be when you do not have access to those sources of capital, a burden for many who want to serve on a school board and one reason why I support a hybrid model.

As a single, working mom, I want to make sure that others in our City who lack the resources to campaign continue to have the opportunity to be appointed to serve on the school board.

 

I understand the concerns that people have about the politicization of these appointments; that is why I have advocated and will continue to advocate for an open and transparent application process for those who wish to be appointed by the Mayor to serve on the Providence school board. We ought to be ensuring that Mayoral appointments to the school board are inclusive and driven by the community. I also understand the desire to have elected school board members as well.  We ought to also be looking at the ways in which a hybrid model could allow for members of our undocumented community to represent their children on the school board. The hybrid model serves to balance the advantages and disadvantages of a fully-elected model and a fully-appointed model.

 

The politicization of school boards across the Country is something that has had a worrying impact on the education of our children. I voted to sustain this veto today because I have heard the outcry from the community about the lack of community input – particularly from those directly in the schools and involved in this process, and as I have long said, policy in Providence must be created with and alongside the community.

 

So, while I hope to eventually vote as a resident of Providence to move our school board to a hybrid model, I voted today as a City Councilor to sustain the Mayor’s veto and continue the process of engaging the community on this crucial issue.”

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