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Magaziner seeks $300 million school construction bond

Rhode Island state treasurer Seth Magaziner.Matthew Healey for The Boston Globe

Happy Thursday! I’m Dan McGowan and I’m ready for sledding action tomorrow. Follow me on Twitter @DanMcGowan or send tips to Dan.McGowan@globe.com.

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Fully vaccinated: 828,475 (of about 1.1 million residents)

New cases: 4,885

Test-positive rate: 18.5 percent

Currently hospitalized: 405

Total deaths: 3,107

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Leading off

Rhode Island voters could be asked to approve a $300 million school construction bond in November under a proposal set to be released Thursday by state Treasurer Seth Magaziner.

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Magaziner, who is running for governor this year, has called a 3:15 p.m. press conference at the State House to unveil the legislation. The House sponsor will be state Representative Brandon Potter, and Senators Sandra Cano and Hanna Gallo will sponsor it in on the Senate side.

Nearly 77 percent of voters backed a $250 million school infrastructure bond in 2018, and there are still hundreds of millions of dollars in repairs (or new facilities) that districts need. Magaziner’s office released a progress report on school construction projects in April.

“Four years ago, we embarked on an ambitious plan to repair or replace every structurally deficient school in the state because all students deserve equal access to a high-quality education, and poor school facilities should not be a barrier,” Magaziner said. “Despite incredible progress in a short period of time, there are still thousands of children across Rhode Island attending schools that are old, unsafe, and poorly equipped. We need to continue prioritizing school modernization until all students in Rhode Island are attending schools that are safe, warm, and built for 21st-century learning.”

Aside from the obvious need for school improvements, the $300 million bond proposal is a smart political move for Magaziner. Most voters support school construction, the building trades love the guaranteed work that will come, and he’s going to win over climate activists because the proposal will include incentives for schools that commit to energy efficiency and renewable energy improvements.

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If the ballot question is approved, Magaziner’s proposal will also include incentives for early childhood education facilities, career and technical education facilities, and STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts, and math) facilities.

The Globe in Rhode Island

⚓ On the latest edition of the Rhode Island Report podcast, Marcela Betancur from the Latino Policy Institute discusses the priorities of the Latino community in 2022. Read more.

⚓ As COVID cases soar in Rhode Island, and with the health case system already critically understaffed, experts say we might see more hospitals allowing asymptomatic but COVID-positive workers. Read more.

Timothy Desjardins was weeks away from facing charges in the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the US Capitol when two young Providence officers encountered him outside his Federal Hill barber shop on Veteran’s Day. Amanda Milkovits obtained video of that encounter. Read more.

⚓ Hasbro has named Chris Cocks its new CEO. Read more.

⚓ Five groups filed a civil rights complaint with the Environmental Protection Agency on Wednesday, claiming the Providence Water Supply Board’s lead pipe replacement practices disproportionately increase the risk of lead exposure for Black, Latino, and Native American residents. Read more.

⚓ In a compromise proposal, Rhode Island’s redistricting commission on Wednesday recommended counting state inmates at their home addresses rather than at the Adult Correctional Institution if they’re expected to be in prison for less than two years. Read more.

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⚓ Mayor Jorge Elorza on Wednesday outlined his plan for spending Providence’s remaining $123.7 million in federal American Rescue Plan funding, proposing a wide array of one-time investments to address homelessness, infrastructure, and racial equity. Read more.

Also in the Globe

⚓ Massachusetts Representative Ayanna Pressley is not ready to turn the page on the ugly chapter of American history that is the Jan. 6 attack on the US Capitol. Read more.

⚓ These charts show how fast COVID-19 is spreading in New England. Read more.

⚓ Will David Ortiz make the Baseball Hall of Fame? Read more.

What’s on tap today

E-mail events to us at RInews@globe.com.

⚓ Birthdays:  Rhode Map readers, if you want a friend or family member to be recognized on Friday, send me an e-mail with their first and last name, and their age.

⚓ The Providence City Council will hold its first meeting of 2022, and Council President John Igliozzi plans to lay out his agenda for the year.

⚓ The Womxn Project is holding a press conference at 3 p.m. to advocate for passage of an abortion rights bill.

My previous column

There’s a Republican who can win the Rhode Island governor’s race this year. The only problem is that he wants to run for a different office. If you missed the column, you can read it here. And all of my columns are on our Rhode Island Commentary page.

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Rhode Island Report podcast

Ed Fitzpatrick talks to Marcela Betancur from the Latino Policy Institute about the priorities of Latino community in 2022. Listen to all of our podcasts here.

Boston Globe App

You can get alerts about Rhode Island news on the Globe’s app (iOS and Android). Just tap the gear icon, then “Edit Alert Settings,” and choose Rhode Island.


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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Dan McGowan can be reached at dan.mcgowan@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter at @danmcgowan.