By Elisabeth Harrison
Providence, R.I. – A bill on its way to Governor Carcieri's desk would change the way Rhode Island public schools get funding from the state.
The bill passed last night by the state legislature would calculate each district's share of funding based on current student enrollment, with additional funds allocated for low-income students.
The bill also calls for a $15.5 million increase in overall state funding for education, which is meant to ease the blow to districts that will lose money under the new system.
The formula would take effect in July 2011 and be phased in over a 10 year period. Advocates say it isn't perfect, but does address some of the inequities in school funding around the state.
Critics say the new bill unfairly penalizes districts that regionalized at the urging of the state. They also warn that it may cause property taxes to rise in some districts or force school closures.