On March 23, 2021, the Finance Committee of the Rhode Island House of Representatives consider legislation to impose a 3-year moratorium on the creation of new charter schools. I submitted testimony in support of the legislation which you can read by clicking here.
Here is some information about how to make it through this year’s first large snow storm.
The City’s weather service predicts the storm will leave between 8 and 12 inches of snow in our area, followed by wind gusts exceeding 45 miles per hour, producing blizzard conditions.
The storm will be followed by bitterly cold temperatures and wind chills dropping as low as 30 degrees below zero on Friday, creating a serious frost bite risk for anyone staying outside 30 minutes or longer. While we all want to shovel our walks and driveways, we may have to wait. The Providence Public Schools will be closed both today and tomorrow.
If you lose electric power, call National Grid at 1-800-322-3223.
The major snowfall is expected to continue into the early evening, making it unsafe to drive throughout that time. If you have an emergency today that requires transportation, call 911.
The snow is expected to end tonight, which will provide the City an opportunity to begin clearing the streets at that time with a goal of making everyone’s commute tomorrow morning possible. If your street is not cleared tomorrow morning, you can contact PVD 311, either by dialing 311 on your telephone or clicking on this link.
I also have provided some general tips below. Stay safe and warm!
Be Snow Ready
Before a snowfall:
· Prepare for an emergency. Keep an emergency kit and supplies in your home, office and car. During an emergency, such as a large-scale power outage, residents may be without services or assistance for up to 72 hours. Visit the Providence Emergency Management Agency (PEMA) at www.readyprov.com or call (401) 680-8000 to find out more about personal emergency preparedness and for information on free emergency preparedness workshops.
· Stock up on food supplies and ensure that your prescriptions are filled.
· Note the locations of fire hydrants and catch basins around your property.
· Purchase and install quality snow tires. Tune-up your vehicle for winter driving.
· Keep a shovel and supply of salt handy for sidewalks and driveways.
· Make alternate arrangements (such as taking public transit) to commute to work, school, or medical appointments when it snows.
· Monitor local weather reports.
When it snows:
· Drive only if necessary. Public transit is a good alternative.
· Park in your driveway, not on the street. This will allow snow plows and salt spreaders the room required to safely clear the street. This is particularly important on cul-de-sacs and narrow roadways. Please note that lanes and alleys are not ploughed during a snow event.
· Observe posted signs that may restrict on-street parking in some areas during periods of heavy snowfall.
· Do not abandon your car if it gets stuck. Illegally parked cars that hamper snow removal may be ticketed and/or towed.
· Clear snow away from fire hydrants. This will make it easier for the Fire Department to locate the hydrant in the event of an emergency.
· Clear snow and ice from the catch basins in front of your home or business. This will allow for proper drainage and will reduce the chance of flooding on the street and on your property.
· Check on neighbors and family members who may need some extra assistance.
· Stay away from rivers and creeks. Heavy rainfall or melting snow causes increased safety risks due to elevated water levels, swift-moving currents and bank erosion.
· Report downed power lines. Stay clear and contact National Grid at 1-800-465-1212. VisitNational Grid’s website for further information about power outages.
Schools can also be affected by heavy snowfall. In the event of a major snowfall, local area schools may be closed. Please check the following websites during a snow event for more information.
· Providence Public School District (PPSD): www.providenceschools.org
· Independent/Private Schools: Please contact the school directly.
Winter Weather Driving Tips
· Before you get behind the wheel, know the road conditions and weather forecast. For road conditions in Providence and throughout Rhode Island, call 5-1-1 or visit the Rhode Island Department of Transportation Travel Advisory Page.
· Restrict travel until road crews have had a chance to clear the roads.
· Keep vehicle windows, mirrors, roofs and lights clear of snow and ice.
· Wear your seat belt!
· Allow extra travel time.
· Know the road surface. Black ice is invisible and could be present.
· Be alert to potentially icy areas like shady spots and bridges.
· Keep a safe distance of at least 5 car lengths behind other vehicles.
· Stay behind the snowplow. The road BEHIND the snowplow is safer.
· Never cut between a caravan of snow plows.
· When snow is forecast try not to park on narrows streets or in cul-de-sacs.
· Keep an emergency winter driving kit in your vehicle.
Frequently Asked Questions About Snow in Providence
What is a snow emergency?
A snow emergency is a pre-determined period of time during which roadways are cleared of passenger traffic and parked cars to enable crews to respond and remove snow. A snow emergency is not issued by the National Weather Service; however winter weather warnings, blizzard warnings, and other winter weather advisories are taken into account when declaring a snow emergency.
What is the City’s responsibility during a snow emergency? The City is responsible for plowing public streets citywide and making them safe and drivable. The City of Providence needs the assistance of every resident and business owner to restore roads and sidewalks to normal passable conditions.
When will the City begin sanding and plowing the streets? The City begins sanding streets 2-3 hours before a winter storm begins. Snow plowing usually begins immediately after the first snow begins falling.
How does the City decide what streets are plowed first? The city plows top priority and high-volume roadways first, followed by collector streets and routes leading to schools. Once conditions have been stabilized on first- and second-priority routes, crews will begin to clear local streets. Local streets are not plowed immediately during a snow event. In the event of continual snowfall, it may take longer than normal for plows to reach local streets as first- and second-priority streets will require additional attention. Be assured that once it snows, Providence crews work around the clock until all the roads are safe and drivable.
Why do the City plows push snow into my driveway? Who is responsible for clearing it? Snowplow operators push snow off roadways in smooth, continuous passes. Toward the end of the snow storm plows begin to widen roadways by pushing snow closer to the curb line and in some cases onto the sidewalk. The snow ends up on the roadway shoulders, in gutters, and sometimes blocking driveways and sidewalks. Unfortunately, there is no way to avoid this inconvenience. Removing snow from your driveway or property after plows have passed and shoveling to the right side of your driveway as you face the road can help prevent re-shoveling. All residents and businesses are urged not to redeposit snow back onto the street.
I just saw a plow go down my street with the plow up. Why? Trucks may be spreading salt and sand, out of salt and sand and headed back to a maintenance yard for a refill, or headed to an assigned area. Be assured that once it snows, Providence crews work around the clock until all the roads are safe and drivable.
How long after the storm is over can I expect all streets will be passable? Every snowfall is different, but the City follows standard snow removal procedures during every snow event. The timing and intensity of the winter storm will determine how quickly the city can clear roads and make them drivable again. Be patient; crews are working hard and will eventually get to your road.
What responsibilities do property owners, businesses, and residents have during and after a snow storm? Property owners are required to remove snow and ice from sidewalks, catch basins, fire hydrants and pedestrian ramps adjacent to their property. The city will fine property owners who do not clear adjacent sidewalks of snow. This is a public safety issue and is the responsibility of the property owners. (See City Ordinance Sections 23-13 to 23-17)
Check in on relatives, friends, and neighbors who may need assistance preparing for a storm. Consider helping neighbors who may require special assistance, especially the elderly and those with disabilities.
Remain off the roads during a snowstorm unless absolutely necessary. Using alternative transportation during snowstorms reduces the number of vehicles on the road, allowing plows and spreaders more room to operate.
How soon after the snow has stopped should I begin shoveling my driveway? It depends on the type of snowfall and the temperature. Be cautious when shoveling heavy wet snow as it can lead to injury. When there is a heavy wet snowfall it is best to use a snow blower. If you do not have one, ask a neighbor if you can borrow one.
Removing snow from your driveway or property after plows have passed and shoveling to the right side of your driveway as you face the road can help prevent re-shoveling.
Can I blow, shovel or plow snow onto the street?
No you cannot. Fines will be imposed on any person(s) depositing snow onto any street, highway or public place that has already been plowed. (See City Ordinance Sections 23-13 to 23-17).
Who do we call to report a sidewalk that has not been cleared of snow? Call the City’s snow hotline at (401) 680-8080.
What if I am not physically capable of clearing my sidewalk?
First ask a relative, friend or neighbor to assist you in clearing your property. Other assistance can be requested by dialing 2-1-1.
Is there a parking ban? If a parking ban is in effect it will be advertised on television and announced on the City of Providence’s website.
How does a parking ban help the City with snow removal operations? A parking ban allows work crews to salt and plow the roads quickly and safely. Cars that remain parked in violation of a parking ban prevent plow trucks from fully clearing roads and making both lanes clear and drivable following a winter storm event.
I live in a designated on street parking area and the City has issued a parking ban. Where can I park? Residents who currently hold an on-street parking permit are required to find alternative off-street parking arrangements while a parking ban is in place. During a parking ban, no vehicles are allowed to park on the street. Once the parking ban has been lifted residents may resume parking in their designated permitted areas.
My car was towed during a parking ban. How can I find out where it is? When a vehicle is towed, the owner of the vehicle should contact the Providence Police Department Central Station at (401) 243-6400 with their vehicle’s registration number in order to find out which towing company has their vehicle.
Who should I call if my street hasn’t been plowed?
Please call the City’s snow hotline at (401) 680-8080.
What should I do if my property is damaged by a plow? In the event your property is damaged by a plow, you can submit a claim with two estimates for the cost of repair through the City Clerk’s Office, Providence City Hall Room 311. Forms are available online at www.providenceri.com/city-clerk/claims
How can I get up-to-date information on snow removal operations, i.e. parking ban, school/recreation activity cancellations, RIPTA route scheduling, event cancellations etc. from the City?
Stay tuned at www.providenceri.com or call the snow hotline at (401) 680-8080.
How else can I prepare for a snow storm? Drivers are urged to keep fuel tanks filled, make sure windshield wipers are working, and keep the following items in their vehicle: a small shovel, sand or kitty litter for traction, a flashlight with fresh batteries, and a first-aid kit.
During the storm, keep children away from roadways and do not let them play in snow banks made by plows. Should power outages occur, please contact National Grid at 1-800-465-1212. Do not approach any downed utility line. Report downed wires to the Providence Fire Department by calling (401) 274-3344.
City of Providence | Service Request Form
Filling out the service request form:
Why are we asking you for your email address?
Dear Fellow Providence Residents:
Today is Giving Tuesday. I encourage you to support our local public schools, through the Nathan Bishop Middle School PTO, the Classical High School Alumni Association and the Hope High School Dollars for Scholars Program. Information about each one follows:
1. Nathan Bishop Parent-Teacher Organization
2. Classical High School Alumni Association
Today’s the day! Giving Tuesday is a globally recognized day of charitable giving and community involvement.
This year, we’re dedicating our Giving Tuesday to the Classical High School Art Department in order to fund art supplies and equipment!
We encourage everyone to consider CHSAA and, ultimately, CHS, in their charitable giving this year. Donate what you can and challenge a friend to so the same! To learn more or contribute, click the link below.
Thank you for joining us in our goal to Keep Classical Strong!
Classical Alumni Association | One Richmond Square, Suite 155E, Providence, RI 02906′
3. Hope High School Dollars For Scholars
Building an Educated Community
Hope High Dollars for Scholars (HHDfS), an affiliate of Scholarship America, is excited to announce its 2017-2018 Annual Appeal. To date, $152,000 in scholarships has been awarded to 54 Hope scholars. With donor support, Hope High Dollars for Scholars can continue to build an educated community of Hope scholars – opening up the world and enabling our Hope graduates to become productive and engaged members of their communities.
“By providing much-needed financial resources to students, Hope High Dollars for Scholars removes some of the financial obstacles that prevent Hope High School students from obtaining a post-secondary education. Their generosity assists each recipient to achieve the American educational dream.”
Jimps Jean-Louis, Hope Guidance
“A college education and scholarship allowed me to enjoy a wonderful career, take pride in seeing my children go to college and have their own wonderful careers, as well as having the time and resources to volunteer in my community. I want the same for these Hope students.”
Marsha Kirshenbaum, Hope ’61
Here’s how Hope High Dollars for Scholars is changing lives and launching careers:
“I am so excited to be in graduate school at RIC studying for my masters in social work. My gap year, working for City Year as a mentor in a Providence middle school, cemented my determination to work with disadvantaged kids and families.”
Chris Velasquez, 2012 HHDfS Scholar
“I am an Ithaca College graduate with a Bachelor of Science degree. I am working as a behavior specialist while studying for my dental boards. I plan to enroll in dental school in Fall 2018. I shall never forget my feeling of confidence when I received my scholarship.”
Alaina Moise, 2012 HHDfS Scholar
About Hope High Dollars for Scholars: Hope High Dollars for Scholars is a non-profit, tax exempt affiliate of Scholarship America, served by an all-volunteer Board of Directors. Its mission is to expand access to educational opportunities for Hope students by supporting college readiness programs and providing scholarships. To DONATE online or by mail:
Click here for information.
STATEMENT OF PROVIDENCE CITY COUNCIL MEMBERS NICHOLAS NARDUCCI, WILBUR JENNINGS, JR., DAVID SALVATORE, SETH YURDIN AND SAMUEL ZURIER
Yesterday’s indictment of City Council President Aponte on felony charges of embezzlement and misappropriation of campaign funds shattered any remaining public trust in his leadership of the City Council. We call for him immediately to step aside from the office of President so the City Council can begin to repair the great damage he has inflicted on City government.
We are confused and disappointed by statements from our colleagues urging a “wait and see” approach. Every hour that Mr. Aponte remains as President worsens the crisis of public confidence he and former Majority Leader Jackson have generated. It is time to stop enabling this conduct and for everyone to place the well-being of the City above their personal interests and ambitions.
Today we have filed with the City Clerk a Resolution to restore the public’s trust in the Providence City Council to be heard at the City Council’s May 18 meeting calling on a vote to urge Mr. Aponte’s resignation. His departure from the office of President is an urgent and necessary first step in restoring the public’s trust in the City Council.
Text of Resolution follows:
RESOLUTION TO RESTORE THE PUBLIC’S TRUST IN THE PROVIDENCE CITY COUNCIL
WHEREAS, on May 11, 2016, the City Council’s Majority Leader was arrested on charges of felony embezzlement and misappropriation, and
WHEREAS, upon his arrest, the Majority Leader promptly resigned his leadership position to reduce the damage he caused to the public’s trust in the Providence City Council, and
WHEREAS, on July 13, 2016, a grand jury indicted the former Majority Leader on similar felony charges, and
WHEREAS, on May 2, 2017, more than 90% of the voters in Ward 3voted to recall the former Majority Leader from office, and
WHEREAS, the City Council President and five colleagues called two special City Council meetings to intervene and interfere in his colleague’s recall process, but failed to gain a quorum to support his effort to carry out what the Providence Journal editorial page called a “sleazy political stunt”, and
WHEREAS, on May 10, 2017, a grand jury indicted the City Council President on charges of felony embezzlement and misappropriation of campaign funds, and
WHEREAS, the City Council President’s indictment has further undermined the public’s trust in the City Council and the City beyond the damage caused by the former Majority Leader, and
WHEREAS, the City Council President’s standing, both within the City and the State has diminished to a level where he no longer can serve effectively in the position of City Council President,
WHEREAS, the City Council President has chosen not to follow the example of his former Majority Leader, instead refusing to step aside for the good of the City and the City Council, and
NOW, THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, that the Providence City Council hereby urges the City Council President immediately to resign his position as President for the good of the Providence City Council, and for the good of the City of Providence as a whole.
Providence City Council members Wilbur Jennings, Jr., Nicholas Narducci, David Salvatore, Seth Yurdin and Samuel Zurier issued a statement today concerning the City Council leadership’s failure to approve a ‘clean’ infrastructure bond which will appear on the November ballot:
- “It is troubling that the City Council leadership has continued to demand member-controlled slush funds rather than pass a ‘clean’ infrastructure bond. They have placed political gamesmanship above our residents’ interest. Their choice will deprive the City of necessary resources to repair streets, sidewalks, sewers, bridges and parks – all critical to economic development, jobs and quality of life in our city. We support Mayor Elorza’s firm stand against their proposal. Equally troubling is the leadership’s claim that fiscal constraints drove their inability to pass the ‘clean’ bond. All of those constraints were well known when they advanced their initial “slush fund” ordinance in July and their second proposal just two weeks ago.”
On January 5, the City Council approved the fire fighters contract by a 13-1 margin. I voted to approve. I wrote an extended explanation of my vote.
On December 21, Commissioner Pare attended a neighborhood meeting to discuss the fire fighters contract. He provided a Letter summarizing the changes in deployment and a Power Point Presentation describing them in more detail.
The City has attempted in recent years to reduce the cost of fire fighting. In recent years, the total cost of fire fighter salaries has varied, as noted in this chart:
|Budget Year||Mayor||Fire Fighter Salaries|
|(July 1 – June 30)||($ Million)|
*All figures through June 30, 2016 are actual; 2016-17 is based on budgetary projections.
In a May 21, 2015 statement, Mayor Elorza announced that changing the fire fighters’ work arrangements from 4 platoons to 3 would save the City as much as $5 million annually beginning in the 2016-17 fiscal year against a baseline of $40.3 million for Fire Department salaries in 2014-15. The administration implemented the new shifts in August, 2015. In the first year, the actual expenditure on salaries increased to $42.7 million.
In April, 2016, the administration released the NRN Report, which (at p. 35) concluded that Providence’s fire protection cost per capita was 20% above the average of its peers, in part because it had three times the median number of engine companies and twice the median of ladder companies. The report (at p. 37) identified Providence’s minimum staffing level of 94 (14 for rescue, 80 for fire fighting) as a driver of the higher costs, noting that the median for peer cities was 42 for fire fighting, 12 for rescue and 54 total.
The administration’s 2016-17 budget included a salary line of $39.7 million, a savings of $600,000 from the baseline in 2014-15. Of that amount, $5 million was designated as “contingency”, but current projections indicate it will be used to pay overtime.
In a September 14 online post, WPRI.com reported that the City’s legal fees to date in the fire fighters dispute have exceeded $330,000.
On September 12, the City and the fire fighters reached a tentative agreement to resolve their legal disputes. The essential components of the tentative agreement are set forth in a Term Sheet.
On October 14, the City Council’s policy research office prepared a research memo describing possible savings in ambulance services by providing alternatives for patients with non-acute needs for service. The memo describes a nurse triage system in Louisville and Fort Worth which screens for such non-acute cases. The memo cites a Study published in the Annals of Emergency Dispatch Research that reviews the experience in these two cities, and concludes that, on average, the cost of suitable alternative transportation for low-acuity patients can be 60% lower than the cost of an ambulance. According to a study by EMS1.com, the program has produced savings of 28% for Louisville while still providing appropriate care for non-acute cases.
On October 18, the union and administration formalized the prior negotiations into a Tentative Agreement and Tentative Amendment, both subject to City Council approval. The Finance Department also provided a Fiscal Note estimating the financial impact of the tentative agreement if approved.
The City Council engaged a consultant, MMA Associates, to review Fire Department staffing. In May, MMA issued a Draft Report suggesting that it would be possible to reduce minimum manning from 94 to as low as 82 while complying with accepted service and safety standards.
On October 31, I submitted a Letter to the Finance Committee Chair noting two ways to improve the tentative agreement; namely, eliminating one ladder company and introducing a nurse triage system to deploy ambulances more efficiently.
Providence City Council members Wilbur Jennings, Jr., Nicholas Narducci, David Salvatore, Seth Yurdin and Samuel Zurier issued a statement today (October 13) concerning the City’s proposed infrastructure bond which will appear on the November ballot:
“The City Council leadership is holding the infrastructure bond resolution hostage to a ransom demand of ‘slush funds’ controlled by individual members. This ransom demand, when combined with the imminent deadline, seeks to extract political advantage from the City’s extensive infrastructure needs and scarce capital funds. With less than a month before Election Day, the City has not provided voters enough information concerning the infrastructure bond, and time is almost up. We urge our constituents to vote against the infrastructure bond unless a “clean” bond resolution is approved in the next week.”
- The 2010 Formula’s “core instruction amount” of $8,922 is inadequate because it does not include, among other things, operating and “other” expense. These costs amount to approximately 20% of the typical school district’s budget. As a result, these costs must be paid for with 100% local funds, with none of the cost-sharing of Step 3 of the formula. In contrast, the 2007 Working Group report recommended a base amount of $10,600, which would be higher today after accounting for increases in the cost of living over the past eight years.
- The 2010 Formula’s single adjustment of 40% for children who qualify for free or reduced price lunch (FRPL) does not account for the extra needs of children learning the English language. The consultant justified this at the time by saying that the two populations (FRPL children and ELL children) are closely correlated. This is not the case in Rhode Island. For example, in 2012, the relative populations in selected communities was as follows:
For this reason, the 2007 Task Force developed a formula with an additional 0.2 weight for ELL students based on its consultant’s research. This weight was additive to a poverty weight of 0.25 for reduced price lunch and .5 for free lunch.
As shown on the Quadratic Mean Table, the quadratic mean transfers state aid from some of the State’s poorest communities to its wealthiest ones.
The following table highlights some of those transfers.
Actual Share(Including Quadratic Mean)
Mean % Impact
When it was proposed, the quadratic mean was presented as a way to help all communities afford the extra cost of educating children in poverty. In fact, however, the quadratic mean’s aid per student in poverty increases as the community’s wealth per student increases, as this chart shows:
AEWAV Per Student
EWAV Share %
State Share %
Mean % Impact
Mean State Aid Per Child
Some local residents have brought attention to the Providence roots of the writer H.P. Lovecraft. They propose to construct a monument marking the place of his birth near the Wayland Square Starbucks. They have prepared markups of a monument and a sign as follows: