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Chafee calls for increases in school funding

February 1, 2012

Calling education a key to Rhode Island’s economic recovery, Governor Lincoln Chafee has proposed additional funding for public schools.

The governor’s budget would fully fund the state’s education funding formula. It would also provide $11 million in extra aid to underfunded school districts, which the governor proposes offsetting with a two percent increase in the meals and beverage tax.

Those underfunded districts are the “winners” under the state’s new public school funding formula, meaning they are receiving annual increases during a seven-year phase-in period. Woonsocket, Providence, East Providence, Cranston, and Barrington, among others, fall into this category.

Governor Chafee says the increased school aid will help cities and towns ease the burden on local property tax payers. It will do nothing, however, for communities that are losing funding under the formula, including Central Falls, Portsmouth, South Kingstown and the regional school district Bristol-Warren.

Other highlights from the budget include a $1.5 million increase in funding for the Met School and a $2 million decrease for Davies Career and Technical School. The governor has also proposed a $20 million bond to bring wireless internet access into more classrooms.

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