Millions needed to get Cranston schools up to code

CRANSTON, R.I. (WPRI) — One of Rhode Island’s largest districts needs millions of dollars to get its schools up to code, and officials are urging taxpayers to foot the bill.

Cranston school officials are asking city voters to approve a new $15 million bond to address serious health and safety problems at all of the district’s schools.

The William Dutemple Elementary School needs approximately $500,000 worth of work to remove asbestos floor and ceiling tiles and make fire code improvements. Cranston East High School needs similar fixes, which will cost more than $2.5 million.

“Our buildings are not young buildings,” said Mike Traficante of the Cranston School Committee. “It’s got to be addressed, sooner or later. If you don’t address it now, you’ll pay bigger money later on.”

Even though the proposed repairs are critical, Traficante said students are safe in their classrooms.

“Don’t forget we have to meet 21st century standards, as you well know a lot of regulations and codes have changed enormously over the last several years, so we’re trying to meet all these new codes, standards, and code improvements,” he said.

The Rhode Island Department of Education had to approve the proposed repairs since the state suspended funding of all non-emergency school improvement projects. According to the agreement, all of the projects in Cranston would be completed by June of 2019.

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