State pulls plug on Mayor Elorza’s plan to put washing machines in schools

Providence Mayor Jorge Elorza visits with Roger Williams Middle School students.
Providence Mayor Jorge Elorza visits with Roger Williams Middle School students.Ryan T. Conaty for the Boston Globe

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Happy Thursday and welcome to Rhode Map, your daily guide to everything happening in the Ocean State. I’m Dan McGowan and all I want to do is stay home and binge-watch “Succession” today. Follow me on Twitter @DanMcGowan or send tips to Dan.McGowan@globe.com.

Remember Providence Mayor Jorge Elorza’s proposal to put washing machines in schools in order to ensure students have the ability to wear clean clothes every day?


It’s out.

The Rhode Island Department of Education has informed the mayor’s office it is “holding off” on the plan now that the state has taken control of Providence schools, according to spokesperson Meg Geoghegan.

“In speaking with the team at PPSD, it seems as though this initiative would take more time than originally anticipated, and there were some unanswered questions around what staff would take the lead, as well as potential issues surrounding liability and purchasing supplies on an ongoing basis,” Geoghegan said in an email.

Geoghegan said the state may revisit the plan in the future.

Elorza included the proposal in his budget for the fiscal year that started July 1, arguing that it could help the city address its student absenteeism crisis. He came up with the idea after watching a CBS News story about a high school in New Jersey that installed washing machines.

While we’re on the topic Providence schools, the state has announced a series of changes to the district’s central office since formally taking over the school system last week.

Jennifer Lepre, the district’s head of human resources, and Emily Martineau, a spokesperson for Providence schools, have been let go. Art Nevins, a top aide to Governor Gina Raimondo, has been installed as the school department’s interim chief of staff.


Education Commissioner Angélica Infante-Green has also removed the mayor, City Council and School Board from the district’s organization chart.


Rhode Map wants to hear from you. If you’ve got a scoop or a link to an interesting news story in Rhode Island, e-mail us at RInews@globe.com.

James Lombardi is a well-known figure in Providence City Hall, but now he’s been tapped to chair the board of directors at the controversial Wyatt Detention Facility. Ed Fitzpatrick takes a look at Lombardi’s plan for running the Wyatt.

Political scoop: State Representative Moira Walsh has been a thorn in House leadership’s side ever since taking office in 2017. Now the Providence lawmaker looks like she’ll have a Democratic primary challenge from Nathan Biah, the principal at Alvarez High School.

CVS Health revenue surged more than 36 percent in the third quarter of 2019, topping expectations for the Woonsocket-based company.

In her monthly column for the Globe, Mary Ann Sorrentino writes that “true friends and loving family will always make us feel better than tweets or breaking headlines.”

News you can use: Providence journalist Harry August explains how one company helps fight for compensation for aggravated travelers whose flights get cancelled.


Each day, Rhode Map offers a cheat sheet breaking down what’s happening in Rhode Island. Have an idea? E-mail us at RInews@globe.com.


The Providence Journal and Leadership Rhode Island are hosting a public forum on education tonight at Rhode Island College. Tickets are free, but you should register here.

Secretary of State Nellie Gorbea is hosting a veterans small business fair at 148 West River Street in Providence from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m.

Tonight at 225 Dyer Street: It’s BlueTech Connect, a forum that will bring experts together to discuss ways to use technology to improve wind energy systems, coastal resiliency, and the urban coast’s environmental footprint.

The task force that is studying Rhode Island’s education funding formula will meet at 4 p.m. at the State House.

A proposal to keep the Christopher Columbus statue in Elmwood is on the docket at tonight’s Providence City Council meeting.

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Thanks for reading. Send comments and suggestions to dan.mcgowan@globe.com, or follow me on Twitter @DanMcGowan. See you tomorrow.

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