Treasurer Magaziner Celebrates Passage of Historic Johnston School Construction Bond
Johnston voters overwhelmingly approve $215 million proposal to finance school modernization projects
PROVIDENCE, RI – General Treasurer Seth Magaziner today celebrated the overwhelming support of more than 86% of Johnston voters in approving a $215 million proposal to finance the largest modernization of education facilities in the town’s history. As co-chair of the Rhode Island School Building Task Force, Treasurer Magaziner led the development of a once-in-a-generation plan to repair or replace Rhode Island’s public school buildings.
The statewide school construction program was approved overwhelmingly by voters in 2018 and has already allocated $1.7 billion in funding to repair or replace 189 school buildings across 28 districts in Rhode Island. These schools serve more than 101,800 students annually and the projects to repair or replace the schools have created more than 28,000 jobs. School construction activity is well distributed across both urban and suburban school districts.
“All students deserve to attend schools that are safe, warm, dry and equipped for 21st-century learning and Rhode Islanders understand that investing in our schools and in our students is how we build a strong economy for the future,” said General Treasurer Seth Magaziner. “High-quality school facilities not only lead to better attendance, reading levels, and test scores, but the COVID-19 pandemic has underscored the effect school buildings have on the physical health of students as well.”
The Johnston School Construction bond will be used to finance a new early childhood center, the closure and consolidation of four elementary schools into one new state-of-the-art school with a new gymnasium, media center, and science and technology labs to support art, music, science, technology, engineering, arts, and math (STEAM) education. The proposal also includes funding for major renovations to the Nicholas A. Ferri Middle School and Johnston High School in addition to new and expanded career and technical training programming for high school students.
Treasurer Magaziner recently introduced legislation (S2596, H7125) along with sponsors Sen. Hanna Gallo, D – District 27 (Cranston, West Warwick), Sen. Sandra Cano, D – District 8 (Pawtucket), and Rep. Brandon Potter, D – District 16 (Cranston) to extend the availability of enhanced state funding for early childhood education facilities, career and technical education facilities, and STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts, and math) facilities. The proposed legislation includes a $300 million statewide bond proposal for voters to consider on the 2022 ballot.
The proposed legislation also contains significant new incentives for energy efficiency and renewable energy improvements to public school buildings, in keeping with the state’s Act on Climate goals to achieve a net-zero emission economy, in addition to new incentives for school districts to employ local contractors and minority business enterprises on school construction projects.