Regents to discuss Achievement 1st charter application
The state board the oversees elementary and secondary public schools has scheduled a work session today to focus on Achievement First, the charter school application that has met with controversy in Cranston.
The group is looking to open two elementary schools to serve Cranston and Providence students. Supporters say Achievement First has an impressive record of closing achievement gaps, while critics, including some parents, have found it difficult to understand how two districts that have recently complained of fiscal distress can afford new public schools.
Charter school advocates argue that the schools will not come at a cost to local school districts since their initial start-up costs will be funded by private grants and other outside funding. The schools will receive state funding on a per-pupil basis, and district schools would lose funding for any student who opts to attend a charter school.
If approved, the application would set the stage for a total of five Achievement 1st schools in Cranston. The charter management group intends to start with two elementary schools, then open two middle schools and a high school subject to future approval from the state.
The schools would be so-called mayoral academies, a special category of charter school in Rhode Island that is not subject to prevailing wage laws, union contracts or contributions to the state pension system.