This $20 million expenditure will cover lots of repairs that should be in place before school starts Sept. 3. They include roof repairs, fixes to schools heating and ventilation, various fire safety measures and more.

Providence Mayor Jorge Elorza has said he thinks his city's schools will require $400 million to renovate.

The repairs are the first since a report that, among other things, described run-down schools that left some researchers in tears. The report says all but one of the city's public elementary schools are in "very poor" physical condition. Students told researchers that they've seen brown water coming from taps, dried paint falling from the ceiling, leaks pooling in puddles and rodents.

Barbara Mullen, director at the Center for Leadership and Educational Equity, was part of a team that helped compile the report. Mullen, who has worked in other urban school districts, says a renovation effort like this could take 10, 15 years or more.

"It’s a big undertaking," Mullen says. "Especially schools that are as old as Providence’s."

She said some of the schools still have original piping from almost a century ago.