Board of Education

A parent in Cumberland filed has filed a lawsuit against the Cumberland School District and the State Board of Education, challenging the practice of charging tuition for summer school.

In a complaint filed last week, parent Susan Giannini alleges the fees are unfair to students with learning disabilities and low income families. Her attorneys argue they fly in the face of longstanding state policy that prohibits public schools from charging fees for other programs, like afterschool sports and AP classes.

Rhode Island’s Board of Education has voted to give preliminary approval to a new charter school in Woonsocket. The RISE Mayoral Academy would start out with a kindergarten class and grow to a K-8 school serving more than 700 students from Woonsocket, Burrillville and North Smithfield.

Critics say charter schools draw money away from regular public schools, a particular problem in Woonsocket, where school officials are working under severe budget constraints.

Public schools can charge tuition for summer school courses, under a decision from the State Board of Education

The board voted 7-2 last night to uphold a decision from State Education Commissioner Deborah Gist, in a case that pits a relatively common practice in suburban schools against concerns about fairness for low-income students.

Rhode Island's Board of Education is poised to vote Tuesday on a new mayoral academy charter school that would serve Woonsocket, North Smithfield and Burrillville.

The Department of Education has recommended preliminary approval for the school, which eventually hopes to serve 729 students in grades Kindergarten through 8th grade under the name RISE Mayoral Academy.

The board is also scheduled to vote on a proposed expansion that would more than double the student body at Blackstone Academy, a charter high school in Pawtucket. 

Rhode Island's Council for Elementary and Secondary Education will take up renewals for a group of charter schools and requests for school construction funding later today. The Council will also consider a decision that could have implications for summer school programs.