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Happy Monday and welcome to Rhode Map, your daily guide to everything happening in the Ocean State. I’m Dan McGowan and I’m now rooting hard for a Loyola/Oral Roberts matchup in the Final Four. Follow me on Twitter @DanMcGowan or send tips to Dan.McGowan@globe.com.
ICYMI: Rhode Island was up to 133,039 confirmed coronavirus cases on Friday, after adding 334 new cases. The overall daily test-positive rate was 1.9 percent, and the first-time positive rate was 18.5 percent. The state announced one more death, bringing the total to 2,595. There were 129 people in the hospital, and 164,640 residents were fully vaccinated.
The battle between the Providence Teachers Union and the Rhode Island Department of Education is now a full-fledged war.Union President Maribeth Calabro confirmed Sunday that the union has taken a vote of no confidence in state Education Commissioner Angélica Infante-Green and Providence Superintendent Harrison Peters, the latest sign that the two sides are not close to resolving an ongoing contract dispute.
The vote, held virtually over the weekend, came as the school department sent displacement notices to 270 employees to inform them that they will have to apply for different jobs for the next school year.
Calabro said the union plans to release more details about the vote later today, but “the membership has been asking for this since October.” She said “the sheer number of collective votes speaks volumes to the will of the membership.”
In a statement, Infante-Green and Peters called the no confidence vote “a classic tactic that’s been used by union leadership during collective bargaining negotiations and we aren’t surprised to see it here in Providence.”
”We won’t be distracted,” Infante-Green and Peters said. “Our focus has been and will always be doing the hard work of transforming our schools so we can meet the needs of every Providence student. The status quo has not worked these past 30 years and we won’t let another decade of PPSD students be left behind.”
While the vote is largely symbolic, it signals just how toxic the relationship between the union and the state, which controls Providence schools, has become in recent months. Teachers have been working without a new contract for the entire school year, and Infante-Green and Peters have been critical of the slow pace of negotiations.
Infante-Green and Peters believe that the state’s takeover of the struggling district gives them the authority to unilaterally alter the union contract, potentially by lengthening the school day or changing seniority rules when it comes to hiring and firing teachers. Those actions have not yet been taken, and the union has vowed to put up a legal fight if an agreement can’t be reached.
But the education landscape has changed dramatically since the state formally took control of Providence on Oct. 31, 2019. It was Governor Gina Raimondo who helped pushed through the state takeover, but now that she has joined President Joe Biden’s administration, the messy conflict is now on Governor Dan McKee’s plate.
Behind the scenes, McKee has spoken to Calabro and received at least one briefing on the takeover in the last month. With the COVID-19 pandemic still a front-and-center issue, McKee is trying to strike a balance as being a longtime supporter of education reform while attempting to avoid stepping on the teachers’ toes in his first month on the job.
THE GLOBE IN RHODE ISLAND
⚓ Rhode Islanders know about the rise and fall of Alex and Ani, but Alexa Gagosz has an excellent profile on its thriving cousin, Air & Anchor. Read more.
⚓ Amanda Milkovits reports that Rhode Island has seen a big spike in car thefts during the COVID-19 pandemic. Read more.
⚓ As gun-rights advocates braved the cold outside of the State House, more than 300 people signed up Friday to testify during the virtual hearings for 18 different bills on gun control. Read more.
⚓ The Rhode Island House of Representatives is poised to overwhelmingly approve a climate change bill this week. Read more.
⚓ This week’s Ocean State Innovators Q&A is with Jason Whang, co-founder of Co-Crit, an app that allows users to rate and review how businesses are handling COVID-19 safety measures, even in states where restrictions have been lifted. E-mail Alexa Gagosz with suggestions for this weekly interview. Read more.
MORE ON BOSTONGLOBE.COM
⚓ Health: My colleagues Kay Lazar and Anissa Gardizy have a deep dive on Massachusetts’ $3.3 million scramble to build a better vaccine website. Read more.
⚓ Business: How General Electric CEO Larry Culp is rethinking and remaking one of the world’s best-known companies. Read more.
⚓ Politics: Columnist Adrian Walker writes that Boston is on the cusp of having a city government that looks like the city it governs. Read more.
⚓ Literature: How a college dropout in New Hampshire found a Shakespeare secret all the PhDs missed. Read more.
WHAT’S ON TAP TODAY
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.
⚓ Governor McKee will chair his first Rhode Island Commerce Corporation meeting at 5 p.m.
⚓ The Senate Oversight Committee meets at 5:30 p.m. to receive a briefing on the Eleanor Slater Hospital System.
⚓ At 1 p.m., the House Oversight Committee will discuss the tourism industry in Rhode Island.
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