Charter School Debate Returns To The Statehouse

Jan 13, 2016

Credit 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.

Several measures related to charter schools came before lawmakers during the last session but never received final passage. Charter school advocates have said the restrictions would effectively halt the growth of charter schools, disappointing thousands of families whose children are on waiting lists for the schools.

But some public school officials say they are facing financial pressure because of the money they send to charter schools when  students attend them.

Governor Gina Raimondo has asked a panel to review the state funding formula for public schools, including the rules around funding for charter schools, to see whether changes need to be made.

Update: Both bills were held for further study.