Charter Schools

RIPR FILE

Voters head to the polls Tuesday for primary elections in Rhode Island, and one of those primaries will fill a House seat formerly held by Ray Gallison. The Democrat resigned under a law enforcement probe likely to include legislative grants, given to an organization with Gallison on the payroll. Rhode Island Public Radio Political Analyst Scott MacKay discussed the race with News Director Elisabeth Harrison.

RIPR FILE

Education advocates say there’s a lot to like about the state’s new budget for public schools. That includes new funding for special education and early childhood education. But some advocates are concerned about the future of charter schools.

For more on that, Rhode Island Public Radio’s Elisabeth Harrison spoke to Daniela Fairchild from the Rhode Island Campaign for Achievement Now, a group that advocates for charter schools and higher standards for all schools, among other issues.

Budget Changes Charter School Funding

Jun 8, 2016
Ian Donnis / RIPR

The House Finance Committee has changed the structure of payments made by local school districts to charter schools and mayoral academies.

Governor Raimondo had proposed an across-the-board decrease in tuition payments made to charter schools, but the House committee voted to give municipalities more options when it comes to reimbursing the charter schools.

State Senate President Teresa Paiva Weed joins Bonus Q&A this week to discuss charter schools, the outlook on ethics reform, her future plans, promoting green jobs, leadership at the state Board of Elections, and other issues.

Elisabeth Harrison

Governor Gina Raimondo said Wednesday she would veto at least one bill designed to make it harder to open new charter schools. Speaking at an on-the-record lunch with reporters, Raimondo discussed a bill that would require local elected officials to sign off on new or expanding charter schools.

Governor Gina Raimondo joins Bonus Q+A to discuss her jobs strategy, truck tolls, charter schools, whether RI should legalize marijuana, Hillary Clinton, and more.

Elisabeth Harrison / RIPR

Governor Gina Raimondo’s $9 billion budget proposal would increase funding for public schools and give a small bump to colleges and universities.


Elisabeth Harrison / RIPR

The House Committee on Health, Education and Welfare has passed a bill that would make it harder to open new charter schools in Rhode Island.

The bill requires approval from the city or town council of any municipality that would send students to the proposed school. Current state law requires approval only from the State Department of Education.

Charter school leaders have said the bill will curtail the growth of charter schools, especially those that serve multiple cities and towns.

Elisabeth Harrison / RIPR

The one that would require city and town councils to approve any new charter school, or the expansion of an existing charter school, if students from their communities could attend?

Well, that bill is back on the agenda at the House Health, Education and Welfare Committee for January 20th. 

After a hearing this week, the bill was held for further study.

Elisabeth Harrison

A task force has reviewed the way Rhode Island pays for public schools and recommended some changes to Governor Gina Raimondo. The group met Thursday evening to finalize the report.

The panel was formed amid growing concerns that charter schools draw too much funding away from traditional public schools. RIPR's Elisabeth Harrison reviewed a draft of the report and spoke with Morning Edition Host Chuck Hinman about some of the highlights.

  

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.

Elisabeth Harrison

A judge has declined to stop a new charter school from opening in Woonsocket. City officials sought an injunction to block RISE Prep, a special type of charter school called a Mayoral Academy. They argued it would take taxpayer money away from local schools. Rhode Island Mayoral Academies Spokeswoman Katelyn Silva disagrees.

“If there are small areas where we can tweak the funding formula to feel more equitable on all sides we are behind that 100 percent,” said Silva. “Until then, I do think that money follows the child is the fairest way to fund public education.”

Elisabeth Harrison

National education advocacy group Chiefs for Change has a new CEO, and he comes from the Ocean State. The group has tapped Rhode Island Mayoral Academies (RIMA) CEO Mike Magee.

Magee, who co-founded RIMA with then-Cumberland Mayor and current Lieutenant Governor Dan McKee, will step down from the organization on September 1st.

Taylor.a

The newest mayoral charter school set to open in Rhode Island has picked a location in downtown Woonsocket. 

  RISE Prep will start with a kindergarten class this fall and grow to include a middle school. This will be the first charter elementary school in Woonsocket.

Elisabeth Harrison / RIPR

Charter schools dodged a bullet, this month when Rhode Island lawmakers ended the legislative session without agreement between House and Senate bills that could have changed the way charter schools are funded and restricted their ability to grow. 

Rhode Island Public Radio’s Elisabeth Harrison asked Tim Groves, the head of the Rhode Island League of Charter Schools, whether he thinks public opinion is turning against charter schools.

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