The state Tuesday unveiled an initial timeline for the formal state takeover of the Providence School District. This follows weeks of meetings with parents, students and community members, including a number of neighborhood forums and emotional public meetings, as well as a deeply critical report on the schools by researchers at Johns Hopkins University, released in June.

Under the takeover, Infante-Green will control practically every aspect of the school system, from budgeting to administration and staffing. She has already said she may re-open the teachers contract and examine district hiring policies.

The Providence Teachers’ Union has offered support for improving the schools, and have provided Infante-Green with its own set of recommendations for the turnaround.

“We hope teachers and school staff are recognized as part of the solution to the challenges in Providence public schools, not seen as a problem to overcome,” said Maribeth Calabro, head of the Providence Teachers’ Union following the announcement.

The Providence City Council, School Board and Mayor’s office will be given advisory roles and stripped of any decision-making power over the district.  

“We are working together to figure out specific roles they will continue to carry out that makes sense for them to do,” Infante-Green said Tuesday.

Infante-Green will also name a new schools superintendent in the coming weeks, likely an out-of-state candidate with whom she is currently negotiating a contract. That person will become part of Infante-Green’s team and report directly to her. The current schools superintendent, Fran Gallo, will remain in the district serving in a consulting role.

The final takeover also includes language that guarantees parent, student and community input in the turnaround process, as well as the power to evaluate the progress. Those groups will be able to contribute through parent organizations, community advisory boards.

Last month, after parents and students crowded into a public meeting hoping to be a formal partner in decision making. Infante-Green rejected their request. However, she promised to provide an avenue for community comment, and the final turnaround plan will not be approved before such groups have an opportunity to weigh in.

“There have been initiatives here in the past, and then when the person that has brought up the initiative walks away it falls apart,” Infante-Green said. “So what we’re hoping to do is create a system that is owned by the community, that is supported by the community, that doesn’t matter who is at the helm will continue.”

The turnaround plan is not expected until some time in early 2020. In fact, Infante-Green says there will be few noticeable changes to the schools in the first weeks and months under state control.

“Next year at this time, I think you will see less teacher vacancies,” Infante-Green said. “I think you will see a system that is on the same page. Right now you can go from school to school and hear different outcomes, different expectations, all that will be different.”

One issue she plans to tackle in the short-term is making sure all schools and grade levels are working with the same curriculums across the district, and that schools feel more accessible to parents, who say they’ve long felt alienated from the district.

Infante-Green says she will have a better sense of what budget or personnel changes might be needed after audits of the district finances and human resources.

She adds that she hopes there will be more significant changes to the district starting in the next school year. Infante-Green says that could more schools go from kindergarten to eighth grade, instead of the current system which funnels many students into several large middle schools. Some schools, Infante-Green said, may need to be closed due to their poor physical condition, though she provided no timeline for any such decisions.

To tackle the teacher shortages in Providence, as well as the rest of the state, Infante-Green says she will be launching a recruitment campaign, work on changing state hiring regulations and work with education training programs to increase the pipeline of teachers into the schools.