General Assembly authorizes Central Falls to issue historic bonds to build, repair city schools


STATE HOUSE — The General Assembly today passed legislation introduced by Rep. Joshua J. Giraldo (D-Dist. 56, Central Falls) and Sen. Jonathon Acosta (D-Dist. 16, Central Falls, Pawtucket) that authorizes the city of Central Falls to build and repair schools throughout the city.

The bill (2021-H 6408A, 2021-S 0951aa) would authorize the city of Central Falls to issue bonds, notes or other evidences of indebtedness in an amount not to exceed $5.76 million to finance the construction, renovation, improvement, alteration, repair, furnishing and equipping of schools and school facilities in the city.

“This legislation is an absolutely vital chapter in the Central Falls comeback story,” said Representative Giraldo. “School buildings in the city are in dire need of repair and renovation. The ability of students to effectively learn in those facilities has been seriously compromised, and it has had a negative impact on the health and welfare of the city’s children.”

Rep. James N. McLaughlin (D-Dist. 57, Cumberland, Central Falls), who co-sponsored the legislation and whose district houses Central Falls High School, said, “The high school in Central Falls is very old and it’s in pretty rough shape. It’s served its purpose, but the time has come to replace it to ensure the well-being of the city’s students.”

Passage of the legislation allows the city to submit a bond referendum in November’s election asking the voters of Central Falls for approval.

“In Rhode Island, when communities build schools, they generally float a bond for the total amount, then the state reimburses the community for most of the funding,” said Senator Acosta. “This legislation will allow Central Falls to take out the bond for the amount it is ultimately responsible for paying, and have the state assure the bondholders and developers that they will be paying the remaining amount. Moving the state’s reimbursement from the back end to the front end helps make this project a reality.”

The measure now moves to the governor’s office.



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