As in many municipalities across the state, Providence’s schools struggle to meet the needs of our students and our community. While this problem did not happen overnight, it is time to make sure that our students are learning in safe, warm and dry environments that inspire them to learn.

Providence benefits when every single one of our students is given the opportunity to achieve academic success in a safe and supportive space. That is why we have invested over $36 million over the last four years to help repair school facilities in our city.

But even this is not enough; in fact, that investment helped us address just the tip of the iceberg of need. To go even further, we began a year-long community-led process in which students, parents and educators helped us imagine classrooms of the future — classrooms that prepare our kids with the tools they’ll need to compete in the new economy.

This fall, Providence voters will be asked to approve a historic $160 million investment, through a bond referendum, for critical improvements to our school facilities. If approved by residents on Nov. 6, we can begin making real change and lasting improvements in our school spaces to benefit our students.

My administration and the Providence City Council believe that the greatest investments we can make for the future of our city are those that directly benefit our youth. We seek to prepare our kids for the world that awaits them, but we cannot do so with 20th-century infrastructure.

The $160 million bond will bring us one step closer to fulfilling our commitment to invest up to $400 million in our school buildings over the next 10 years. A long-term investment of this size tells our students that they are our top priority and that we are "all in" for their education.

I hope that you will vote in favor of this $160 million investment this November so that every child in Providence studies in a classroom that inspires them to learn.

 Jorge O. Elorza, a Democrat, is the mayor of Providence.