Taveras Budget: School Protesters Interrupt Speech
Tuesday, May 03, 2011
Their shouts briefly drowned out the mayor’s speech. Police promptly swung into action, escorting the protestors outside of City Hall as Taveras resumed his speech.
The budget did not have any major new revelations on the school budget. Taveras simply reaffirmed his plan to close five schools and terminate an unspecified number of teachers in order to close a $28 million deficit on the school side of the budget.
Outside City Hall, protestors told GoLocalProv that they did not think their objections to the school closures had been heard by the city.
A woman who only gave her first name, Sheila, said the school board hearings on the closures had been a “dog and pony show.” “It was such a joke because they already had it written into the budget what they were going to do months ago,” she said.
Activist says Taveras is ‘traitor’ to his supporters
“It’s shameful. It’s a disgrace that a man who came out of South Providence where I live and then got the benefit of the Head Start program and public school education to go on to get his law degree, now turns his back on the people of his own community and all of us that looked forward to a change,” said Wallace Sillanpoa, an activist who identified himself as a retired professor at URI.
“He’s a traitor to the people who got him into office,” Sillanpoa added.
The protest was organized by a group calling itself the Providence Parent Teacher Student Community Coalition.
Taveras speaks of ‘wrenching’ decision
In his address, Taveras acknowledged the impact the decision to close schools had had on the city.
“These school closings were heart wrenching and difficult and let me say to those who are directly impacted that I understand how tough these last months have been for you,” Taveras said. “Believe me when I say that I would not have accepted these closings if we did not believe they were absolutely necessary for the financial wellbeing of our schools and our city.”
He added: “To those who questioned our actions with respect to Providence schools, know this: cuts to our schools has been the most difficult action I have taken as Mayor and it’s something that I will always carry with me. But I am absolutely convinced that our actions were in the best interests of the city and in the best interests of our students. And I am more determined than ever, tonight, to build an urban school system that is the envy of cities across America.”
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