School starts in two weeks for Providence students, after a very difficult summer. Providence interim superintendent Fran Gallo said in the wake of the scathing Johns Hopkins report, she fears teacher morale is low.

In addition, building repairs are behind schedule, Gallo said. The city is working to repair numerous issues in the city schools, after the report highlighted infrastructure problems. Touring several school buildings late last week, Gallo said some places remained inaccessible due to construction.

“We can’t get into the rooms to do the cleaning, that normally would have certainly would have been done by now,” Gallo said. “And we’re going to have to work room by room, to make sure that that happens within that first month of school.”

This summer the city is spending some $20-million on the schools, but that’s a fraction of the estimated needs for Providence schools, which are in the hundreds of millions.

Despite the difficulties, in her first few weeks in the post, Gallo remains optimistic as the state moves forward with its plans for a takeover. She spoke about her priorities and concerns with reporter John Bender. (To listen to the conversation, click the link above.)