City of Providence

Elisabeth Harrison / RIPR

Providence Superintendent Susan Lusi opens up about her tenure in the state’s largest school district, as she prepares to step down. She spoke with Rhode Island Public Radio’s Elisabeth Harrison at the district central office before her departure next week.

While she says she unequivocally believes she has made a difference, Lusi admits that Providence's student test scores leave a lot to be desired.

The Crow's Nest / University of South Florida, St. Petersburg

Providence city officials say they want to be more inclusive of transgender employees and retirees. That includes extending health insurance coverage for gender reassignment surgery.

Providence officials say the city’s health plan will now cover a suite of services for employees and retirees who identify as transgender. That includes gender reassignment surgery, hormone therapy, and behavioral health care.

Performance pay is out, school autonomy is in the proposed three-year contract, which still requires approval from Providence teachers.

City officials say the Providence Teachers' Union has set May 20th as a tentative date for a vote.

Union and city leaders leaders reached a tentative agreement once before, but it failed after union members objected, at least in part, to a call for performance pay.

The agreement would have allowed the district to discuss a system of rewarding teachers for good performance, rather than time in the system.

Mayor Jorge Elorza has announced that Providence Schools will be closed tomorrow, Monday, February 9, in anticipation of a snow storm.

In a statement just released, Elorza also said that a citywide parking ban will go into effect at 12:01 a.m. Monday.

The actions are in response to a winter storm forecast from the National Weather Service. All public after school activities in the capital city are also canceled.

Jorge Elorza’s Providence mayoral campaign has garnered an important endorsement from a leader of the city’s African-American community – State Sen. Harold Metts.

In what Metts said was a ``soul-searching’’ decision, Metts said, ``I have concluded that we need a mayor who can bring all neighborhoods together, with the leadership and vision to move beyond personal agendas and do what is best for our city. That is why I am supporting Jorge Elorza for mayor.’’

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