Education leaders are raising concerns over the House Finance Committee’s proposed budget. The budget fully funds the state’s formula for providing education aid, but there’s no funding for school construction.
For the third year in a row, a repayment program which reimburses municipalities for the some of costs of major construction projects is on hold. Districts will still be able to apply for funding for projects that are deemed emergencies. The proposal has many school districts scrambling because they have already planned construction projects. Without state funding those projects may prove too costly, said Tim Duffy of the Rhode Island Association of School Committees.
"I think there’s a concern, because if they had plans on when to replace facilities, what they’re facing right now is if they had to do that, they can’t get reimbursed from the state for that.”
Duffy said Rhode Island is in dire need of new schools, the average being 58 years old. Rhode Island’s department of education estimates $1.8 billion of construction is necessary in school districts across the state.
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