school construction

School Improvements Bond Nixed Amid Debt Fears

Jun 8, 2016
Elisabeth Harrison / RIPR

A $40 million dollar bond for general school improvements proposed by Governor Raimondo was removed from the state budget, approved early Wednesday morning by the House Finance Committee. The money was earmarked for various construction projects in Rhode Island’s schools.

While Rhode Island has a significant number of aging school facilities, Tim Duffy, executive director of the Rhode Island Association of School Committees, said cities and towns still will have to find other alternatives to fund improvements.

Rhode Island's Council for Elementary and Secondary Education will take up renewals for a group of charter schools and requests for school construction funding later today. The Council will also consider a decision that could have implications for summer school programs.

The budget scheduled for a vote Thursday in the House would extend a moratorium on school construction reimbursements from the state.

If it passes the General Assembly, the spending plan will leave school districts waiting for a third year to embark on major construction projects.

Rhode Island's School Housing Aid Task Force wants to set aside 1 percent of the state sales tax for school construction.

The panel has been working on a series of recommendations as the state prepares to lift a moratorium on  school construction projects.

Other recommendations include the creation of a quasi-public agency to oversee school construction funding, assess facilities statewide and move away from a funding model heavily dependent on bonds.