One expansion proposal set for a vote will create a parallel school district in Providence. This proposal does not have the support of the mayors of two of the four sending communities. According to the Providence City Auditor, the district will lose about $179 million once the expansion is completed. The education funding formula has not yet been fully implemented and it would be catastrophic to Providence students in district public schools if charter tuition payments balloon.
Another proposal could potentially cause the closure of one of the two elementary schools in Central Falls in the foreseeable future and continue to destabilize the entire school district. Currently, more than one third of Central Falls’ students attend charter schools, and further expansion jeopardizes the ability of the school district to meet the needs of the remaining students.
This entire process is extremely flawed and lacks transparency. This issue is being rammed down the public’s throat, even though it is clear that these proposals will have a severe negative programmatic and fiscal impact on public school districts. Adding millions of dollars of mandated charter tuition payments is not prudent for cities and towns, and adding financial obligations will cause district public schools to cut positions and programs for students. Shockingly, the public was not provided fiscal or programmatic data on these proposals during the public comment period. This is too important of an issue for the Council to vote on without letting the public see how it will affect their own public schools, children, and taxpayers.