public schools

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.

RIPR FILE

State lawmakers say public schools may be paying more than their fair share to support charter schools. That’s the major finding of a legislative report about the school system’s "fair funding formula."

The fair funding formula requires public schools to pay charter schools a certain amount per student that opts to attend a charter school instead. That amount is calculated on how much public schools spend per pupil. But it includes expenses charter schools haven’t had to worry about.

Rhode Island’s two teachers’ unions are holding a forum for teachers to discuss their dissatisfaction with new policies in the state’s public schools.

Teachers have complained about the pace of changes under State Education Commissioner Deborah Gist, and they are particularly concerned about new annual teacher evaluations, which include test scores as one measure of teacher effectiveness. The teachers have asked the state to slow down implementation of the evaluations, saying they are time consuming and need adjustment.

Legislation sponsored by Providence Rep Edith Ajello, would add two student positions to the newly formed Rhode Island Board of Education.

One seat would represent public high schools—the other seat, public colleges.

The two students would not be given a vote, but would be able to voice their opinions, providing insight to the board says Ajello.

Relations appear tense between the Rhode Island Federation of Teachers, one of two teachers’ unions in Rhode Island, and State Education Commissioner Deborah Gist.

Gist sent a letter to Superintendents at the end of January reminding them that state regulations require staffing decisions to be based on performance, rather than the number of years a teacher has been on the job, a practice common in many schools.

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