Softening the Takeover of Failing Schools

I don’t have time to research the ins and outs of Rhode Island’s laws dealing with the quality of public education, but it seems to me that the following addition to the section on “intervention and support for failing schools,” introduced in the Senate (PDF) by Senators Ruggerio, Badeau, Ciccone, Lanzi, and Tassoni, would arguably forbid changes in an area that is especially likely to contribute to schools’ problems:

Nothing in this section shall be construed to alter or otherwise affect the rights, remedies, and procedures afforded school or school district employees under federal, state or local laws (including applicable regulations or court orders) or under the terms of collective bargaining agreements, memoranda of understanding, or other agreements between such employees and their employers.

So if union contracts are strangling a school’s budget and limiting the administration’s ability to handle teachers in such a way as to ensure dedicated and effective performance, that reality must be off the table should the board of regents find it necessary to take the school over?

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taxpayer
taxpayer
15 years ago

I wonder, precisely, what would happen to a school taken over by the board of regents?
One cannot legislate dedication, and if that is the goal of this bill, it is a waste of time and resources.
The school budget problem is not with the teacher unions alone – the problem with every city school budget is the unstoppable health insurance rates, coupled with the unfunded mandates put forth by the state and the federal governments. Other contributing factors are administration wages -($90K plus $35K benefits for elementary school principals?)- and flat out poor budgeting skills.
If you want to legislate something, how about making the School Committees’ collective bargaining process open to the public?

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