When the state’s budget writers came out with a spending plan for fiscal year 2021, there was something very important missing: nearly $900,000 in state aid to regional school districts. Students and municipal taxpayers alike cannot continue to absorb these unfair cuts as part of the state’s school funding formula year after year. We urgently need to address cuts in state aid to regional school districts. We on the state level are trying to reformulate the funding formula.
I have been working closely with legislators, the town councils and School Committee members in our school districts to address these cuts in aid. Regional school districts like Chariho and Exeter-West Greenwich are all facing a cut of almost $900,000 in state aid. When that state funding is cut, both students and local taxpayers suffer. That’s unfair. And it’s unsustainable.
The current school funding formula, which calculates the amount of state dollars each district receives, heavily favors urban districts like Providence, Central Falls and Pawtucket. The governor announced she wants all schools in the state to thrive, but she’s cutting close to $900,000 from regional districts to fund city schools, which are broke. This is unfair to the students and taxpayers in our southern end of the state. This means taking away from our kids to fund inner-city schools.
The Rhode Island Senate has a commission studying the education funding formula, ostensibly to find a fairer way to distribute state money to local schools. I very much look forward to the results of the study, but in the meantime, we have to act. I won’t stop fighting for what’s fair for our kids.
Elaine J. Morgan
The writer is the Rhode Island state Senate Minority Whip representing District 34 (Richmond, Hopkinton, Charlestown, Exeter and West Greenwich).