Bussing Becomes an Issue in Providence Mayoral Race

Feb 12, 2014

Democratic mayoral candidate Jorge Elorza has zeroed in on bussing as he seeks to succeed Providence Mayor Angel Taveras.

Elorza, a professor at Roger Williams Law School, issued a statement yesterday saying Providence’s bussing policy forces many children to walk more than a mile to school each morning.

“Our city’s public high school students are not eligible for bus passes unless they live more than three miles from school,” Elorza noted. “Students that fall into the far end of that range could be walking for as long as 45 minutes to an hour just to make it to their first period classes.”

The statement may resonate with families after several days of below-freezing temperatures.

Elorza, who grew up the son of Guatemalan immigrants in a tough part of Providence, referred to his own biography, saying he believes a broader bus policy would reduce chronic absenteeism.

“When I was a child growing up on Cranston Street, my Mother acted as the school bus for many kids in the neighborhood. Although we were lucky to have her there to bring us to school, not every student is as lucky as we were.” Elorza said.

As a candidate, Elorza bears certain similarities to current Providence Mayor Angel Taveras. Both grew up in low-income Providence neighborhoods, attended public schools and went on to Harvard University. Also like Taveras, Elorza is an attorney, who presides in the Providence Housing Court.