I hope you are enjoying the best Spring weekend yet – yesterday, my son and I rode across the new Linear Park connecting India Point Park to the East Bay Bicycle Path. This week’s letter discusses the resignation of Superintendent Lusi, the street sweeping schedule and further discussions concerning the downtown baseball stadium.
Reading the Mayor’s press release Friday afternoon, I learned with regret that Susan Lusi will be resigning as Providence Public Schools Superintendent this fall, almost four months after she accepted a reappointment for the upcoming 2015-16 school year. I am not privy to the discussions that led to this decision, but I can offer a perspective from my own work with Dr. Lusi dating back to her service as Chief of Staff to Superintendent Diana Lam in 2000-02, as Acting Superintendent in 2011-12 and as Superintendent since that time. Throughout her service, Dr. Lusi has shown an exceptional ability to nurture trusting relationships among the key people in the education community. That community was badly fractured in 2011 when Dr. Lusi began her current term, stemming from the mailing of dismissal notices to the entire teaching staff, the closure of four schools and the uncertainty of an expiring teachers’ contract. By the end of her first year, Dr. Lusi mended many of these fractures, and educators, parents, students, the School Board and the City’s elected officials all were united in a common purpose to advance the quality of our public schools. On the other hand, Dr. Lusi also stood up to injustice and unfairness, most notably when the State sought to impose a diploma requirement containing loopholes that exempted suburban children while trapping those in Providence. Once again, she led a team effort, with the strong support of the School Board, the Mayor and the City Council. Putting these data points together, it appears to me that we could (and probably should) have kept Dr. Lusi in Providence through next year and beyond, and I hope we do not live to regret Friday’s announcement. I expect Providence to have an interim superintendent next year as a search for a permanent successor takes place. Any significant progress we make in the coming transition year will be a pleasant surprise, and we can only hope that the search will produce a new Superintendent worthy of Dr. Lusi’s important and valuable legacy.
Three weeks ago, the administration announced a street sweeping schedule under which all streets in our neighborhood would be swept by the middle of April. The administration later determined it could not follow this schedule, instead opting to sweep major streets during that time and return in late May to sweep the residential streets. The major limiting factor is the number of sweeping machines, which the administration proposes increasing in the coming year’s budget. The City Council has urged the administration, which promotes itself as operating a “City that works,” to improve its overall communications to constituents, including but not limited to this City service program.
I appreciate all of the emails you have sent me sharing your views about the proposed downtown baseball stadium. Discussions continue among the owners, the Governor, the General Assembly leadership, the I-195 Commission and (as I recently learned from the media) the Mayor’s representatives, but nobody is speaking with the City Council. On Thursday, the City Council will consider a resolution I introduced officially inviting the team’s representatives answer our questions in a public meeting. In the meantime, I will co-host a public meeting with State Representatives Aaron Regunberg and Edith Ajello, and State Senator Gayle Goldin to share the information we have, and invite all of you, as members of the general public, to share your thoughts, opinions and ideas. The meeting will take place on Monday, May 18 at 6:00 p.m. at the Hope High School Cafeteria. The formal discussion will begin at 6:30. Refreshments will be served.