Editorial: School fixes won't take a day or two


To turn a tired but true phrase, "Rome was not built in a day," and all one had to do was listen to the factual and anecdotal evidence offered up about the opening of East Providence schools late last week to understand why that is case here in city.

Of course, there were positives with the start of the term as evidenced by the opening of the refurbished gymnasium and other health/athletic facilities at East Providence High School. Those who started the project, who worked to see its fruition deserve the utmost respect and admiration for their efforts. The gym, once an eyesore, is now a wonderful example of what the community can do when it pulls together.

There were, however, some unfortunate occurrences, like the situation at the renamed Oldham Elementary School highlighted in a Letter to the Editor this week. A number of other buildings similarly reported untidiness of the facilities, due mostly to the late end to summer construction. It is not acceptable, however, it is the reality of what can happen when the much-needed fixes to our schools are done in a piecemeal manner, something this has city attempted to do now for a generation.

There were a couple of other notable negatives, a reported lack of paper products for teachers at the high school and a system-wide failure of the direct deposit system for payroll, both of which caused an understandable amount of consternation from staff.

Again, though, these failures of function should not come as a surprise to anyone who has in the slightest followed the plight of our school system the last several years. We have a new administration, which is working diligently to remedy the district's ills. They alone, however, can't be left to find the fixes.

It's up to all of us to pitch in. Our schools are likely the most important reflection of who we are as city to rest of the world. Much work remains to done. It won't be completed in a day, but at least a true attempt should be made to improve our facilities sooner rather than later.


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Jim McGaw

A lifelong Portsmouth resident, Jim graduated from Portsmouth High School in 1982 and earned a journalism degree from the University of Rhode Island in 1986. He's worked two different stints at East Bay Newspapers, for a total of 18 years with the company so far. When not running all over town bringing you the news from Portsmouth, Jim listens to lots and lots and lots of music, watches obscure silent films from the '20s and usually has three books going at once. He also loves to cook crazy New Orleans dishes for his wife of 25 years, Michelle, and their two sons, Jake and Max.