The State Council on Elementary and Post-Secondary Education voted Tuesday to allow a major proposed expansion of the charter school system, Achievement First, in Providence. The Connecticut-based organization could potentially grow by more than 2,000 students.
Achievement First currently operates two elementary schools in the capital city, with about 700 students. The group is hoping to expand that to three elementary schools, two middle schools, and a high school, increasing enrollment to more than 3,000.
The issue has been a controversial one, not least because the cost of running the schools could result in the loss millions of dollars for the Providence School district. By the time the expansion is complete in 2027, the city stands to lose roughly $30 million dollars in state aid year.
Proponents, including the state education commissioner Ken Wagner, say students in failing schools deserve more education choices.
Achievement First’s proposal must also be approved by Providence Mayor Jorge Elorza. Elorza has said the organization would need to secure more of its own funding.