EAST PROVIDENCE — The New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC) affirmed its decision to place East Providence High School on probationary status, doing so in a letter penned to principal Janet Sheehan and submitted by Superintendent Kim Mercer to the School Committee at its meeting Tuesday night, Dec. 10.
Mrs. Mercer, who read the NEASC letter into the record, said she was “a little disappointed in the response, but I do understand.”
EPHS has been on “warning” status for the last five years, ever since a group representing NEASC visited the facility for a 10-year accreditation review back in early 2008.
Upon another tour of the building earlier this year, NEASC representatives deemed EPHS to still be in a state of disrepair.
In its most recent correspondence to the school department, the NEASC executive committee wrote it “unanimously” affirmed its decision to place the school on probation due to lingering questions with the six-decade-old EPHS structure.
The committee further noted its “ongoing and grave concerns” with many aspects of the building, including issues pertaining to a lack of science and technical capabilities as well as the poor hygienic quality of the school’s athletic, cafeteria and bathroom facilities in addition to the still as of yet formulated five-year plan to remedy the problems going forward.
The letter also noted the ability of the school department, through the school committee, to appeal the decision or it could accept it and submit an updated status report for review in May of next year.
Mrs. Mercer reminded the school committee and the public some $175,000 has already been allocated to update a science lab at the high school while other improvements are in the works or have been completed, like renovations of the gymnasiums and the addition of new dining tables and seating in the cafeteria.
Therefore, she recommended not to appeal, but to continue to perform the necessary tasks and revisit the matter with NEASC in May.
In concurring with the superintendent, School Committee Chairman Joel Monteiro said elected officials and administrators “need to stay focused and determined to address these issues.”