school funding

Elisabeth Harrison

Governor Gina Raimondo said Wednesday she would veto at least one bill designed to make it harder to open new charter schools. Speaking at an on-the-record lunch with reporters, Raimondo discussed a bill that would require local elected officials to sign off on new or expanding charter schools.

Elisabeth Harrison / RIPR

The House Committee on Health, Education and Welfare has passed a bill that would make it harder to open new charter schools in Rhode Island.

The bill requires approval from the city or town council of any municipality that would send students to the proposed school. Current state law requires approval only from the State Department of Education.

Charter school leaders have said the bill will curtail the growth of charter schools, especially those that serve multiple cities and towns.

Elisabeth Harrison / RIPR

The one that would require city and town councils to approve any new charter school, or the expansion of an existing charter school, if students from their communities could attend?

Well, that bill is back on the agenda at the House Health, Education and Welfare Committee for January 20th. 

After a hearing this week, the bill was held for further study.

Elisabeth Harrison

A task force has reviewed the way Rhode Island pays for public schools and recommended some changes to Governor Gina Raimondo. The group met Thursday evening to finalize the report.

The panel was formed amid growing concerns that charter schools draw too much funding away from traditional public schools. RIPR's Elisabeth Harrison reviewed a draft of the report and spoke with Morning Edition Host Chuck Hinman about some of the highlights.

  

Elisabeth Harrison

On Wednesday the House Health, Education and Welfare Committee is scheduled to consider a bill that would require city councils to sign off on new charter schools, or the expansion of an existing charter school, proposing to serve students from their communities.

A bill scheduled in the House Finance Committee would require education officials to study the financial impact of proposed charter schools and reject those that would hurt the finances of local school districts.

Ian Donnis/File Photo / RIPR

House Minority Leader Brian Newberry (R-North Smithfield) on Wednesday harshly criticized the absence of any Republican lawmakers on a school funding formula working group, as well as how Governor Gina Raimondo handled the response to his request to include a GOP representative.

Elisabeth Harrison

Five years after lawmakers approved a formula to determine state aid to school districts, Governor Gina Raimondo is calling for a review  of the system. 

Raimondo has convened a panel of more than two dozen lawmakers, businesspeople, school leaders and others to study the way the state distributes money to elementary and secondary schools.

Questions for the panel include funding for charter schools, special education services and the overall effectiveness of K-12 spending, which is the second largest piece of the state budget.

Did anything happen this week not involving the New England Patriots and deflated footballs? Indeed. So read on, dear reader, and thanks for stopping by. As always feel free to share your tips/thoughts at idonnis (at) ripr (dot) org, and to follow me on the twitters. Here we go.

That's the question a legislative panel is investigating. Lawmakers are scheduled to hear from several local elected officials and school leaders on Friday.

Their concern is the impact of the state formula for funding public schools, and the way it calculates tuition for charter schools.

Cumberland Town Councilor Arthur Lambi, a Republican, is among those planning to testify. According to Lambi, Cumberland sends about $3 million to charter schools every year, and that number is expected to grow as charter schools add more seats.

Woonsocket and Pawtucket are asking the Rhode Island Supreme Court to intervene in their effort to get more funding from the state. The districts filed briefs late last week, arguing they do not receive enough state aid to meet the state’s basic education requirements. The districts claim their students are being denied equal access to an education, in violation of their rights under the state constitution.

Rhode Island Education Commissioner Deborah Gist urged lawmakers to pass a series of bills aimed at improving school safety in the wake of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting during her State of Education speech on Tuesday. She also urged passage of the governor’s budget which increases funding for public schools, colleges and universities.