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Budget plan cuts schools by 3.8%

May 28, 2010

The House Finance Committee has passed a budget with a 3.8% cut for public schools state-wide. The plan for fiscal year 2010 and 2011 also cuts aid to cities and towns by more than $130 million. To ease the burden on municipalities, cities and towns would be allowed to reduce their school budgets by 5%. That’s likely to disproportionately affect urban districts, warns Tim Duffy of the Rhode Island Association of School Committees.

 “Communities that won’t be able to fund it are the ones that are in deficit now – Woonsocket, Pawtucket, West Warwick – communities that are financially stressed,” Duffy said. “It grows the inequity between the haves and the have nots.”

The state Department of Education says analysts are still reviewing the budget to determine the full impact on public schools. The bill does not include a funding formula, which would re-distribute state education funds based on student enrollment and community wealth. House Finance Committee Chairman Steve Costantino said he does expect a formula to pass this year, but it would not take effect until 2012.

The full House is expected to vote on the budget plan next week.

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