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Divided Regents approve Achievement First

February 3, 2012

The final tally was five to four when the State Board of Regents voted last night on Achievement First. Board Chairman George Caruolo cast the tie-breaking vote.

Reacting to the decision, retired Providence teacher Ellie Wyatt said she was disappointed.

“This is going to take money out of the public schools and we can’t afford that.” Wyatt told RIPR’s Flo Jonic. “And that is why places like Warwick, Cranston, North Providence voted to reject Achievement First.”

The vote followed months of debate over the merits of Achievement First. Some parents expressed excitement about a new school that might prove to be better than existing public schools.

“This is a good opportunity for the community,” said grandmother Betty Bernal. “This is something we really wanted and were fighting for.”

The decision means that Achievement First can move forward with plans to open the first of two charter elementary schools in Providence next year, serving students from Providence, North Providence, Cranston and Warwick. A second school will open the following year, according to a spokesperson.

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