Rhode Island’s Board of Education has voted to give preliminary approval to a new charter school in Woonsocket. The RISE Mayoral Academy would start out with a kindergarten class and grow to a K-8 school serving more than 700 students from Woonsocket, Burrillville and North Smithfield.
Critics say charter schools draw money away from regular public schools, a particular problem in Woonsocket, where school officials are working under severe budget constraints.
Rhode Island's Board of Education is poised to vote Tuesday on a new mayoral academy charter school that would serve Woonsocket, North Smithfield and Burrillville.
The Department of Education has recommended preliminary approval for the school, which eventually hopes to serve 729 students in grades Kindergarten through 8th grade under the name RISE Mayoral Academy.
The board is also scheduled to vote on a proposed expansion that would more than double the student body at Blackstone Academy, a charter high school in Pawtucket.
The Rhode Island Department of Education has scheduled a round of hearings on six new charter schools proposed for the state.
The hearings are intended to gather public input on the proposals, which include two new mayoral academies in Woonsocket and Warwick.
Mayoral academies serve students from multiple districts, which usually include a mixture of urban low-income and suburban communities. They pride themselves on challenging academic programs and promoting college prep even for the youngest students.
Achievement First, a big box charter operator from Connecticut, opens its first school in Rhode Island this month. Plans for Achievement First in Rhode Island originally called for a network of public charter schools serving students in Kindergarten through the end of high school, but the proposal almost immediately ran into opposition from parents and teachers.
Blackstone Valley Prep has received the go-ahead from state officials to continue operating for another five years and more than double the number of schools it runs around the state.
Blackstone Valley Prep, a charter school, currently operates two elementary schools in Cumberland and a middle school in Lincoln. Plans call for a high school to open this fall at a location still to be determined.