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Rhode Island School Superintendents' Association

From the Executive Director - 2017 Legislative Initiatives

15 Mar 2017 11:47 AM | Judy Spremulli (Administrator)

The 2017 Legislative session is now in full swing and I am a regular attendee of committee hearings to represent RISSA, or positions, and our members. The big issue will be the positons of the Governor and her college plan and the Speaker who wants the elimination of the automobile personal property tax. Although this is not an overly activist session, there are several bills and areas of concern the Legislative Committee and I are watching closely:

Senate Bill No. 437: Provides that the department of education shall develop a funding formula for school districts sending students to career and technical programs outside the district.

This bill would end tuition-based payments for CTE and “develop a formula for calculating tuition to career and technical education programs to be paid by the sending district”.

House Bill No. 5239: Provides that the office of auditor general be responsible for analyzing and reporting the impact of new or expanded charter schools.

We support this bill based on the Commissioner’s “analysis” during the huge expansion of the mayoral academy this fall. We feel, as do serious economists in the State, that the Commissioner’s recommendation for expansion was not based on a serious study of financial impact and we would rather give the task to the Auditor General.

Senate Bill No. 210: Gradually increases the state's contribution to the teachers' retirement system, while reducing the municipal contribution, eventually resulting in the contributions being shared equally.

This is important. Should ERSRI drop the expected rate of return on investment, districts would take as serious financial hit.

House Bill No. 5749: Amends the maintenance of effort provisions used to determine the minimum contribution for local school aid.)

This bill is big. It requires districts to contribute to schools at least by the CPI. As

House Bill No. 5752: Requires the department of education and the DCYF to develop a procedure to ensure that the municipalities where group homes or other residential facilities are located are reimbursed for the educational expenses above the cost allocated.)

This bill would be opposed by DCYF but we do have agreement by RIDE and DCYF to abandon current law the bills districts the per pupil special education cost for each DCYF placement. The current law has no basis in reality and no longer serves its intended purpose.









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