Should All Rhode Island School Departments Be Budgeting for a Zero State Aid Increase?

Woonsocket Mayor Susan Menard has submitted a city budget that assumes a slight decrease in state education aid compared to last year. From Kia Hall Hayes in Saturday’s Projo

Mayor Susan D. Menard submitted a $115.7-million budget yesterday that calls for a 3.85-percent tax rate increase — only the third tax hike in the mayor’s 12-year administration.
“In my 12 years as mayor this is the most difficult one I have had to put together,” Menard said yesterday, citing a decrease in state aid and increases in fixed costs such as state pension contributions, health care and debt service….
Menard has budgeted for a $100,000 decrease in state aid for schools and level funding in general revenue sharing from the state.
“I can’t tell you how the General Assembly is going to balance the state’s mess,” Menard said.
And Douglas Hadden of the Pawtucket Times reports that city officials in Pawtucket are also expecting the legislature to reduce and maybe eliminate the Governor’s proposed 3% increase in state education aid…
With legislative leaders struggling to reduce a projected $360 million state budget deficit, the question increasingly seems to have become not whether something has to give, but what.
How much of the city’s projected boost in state aid could be threatened remains unclear, but a cut of some kind appears increasingly likely. “There’s a good chance – I’m not saying it’s definite – but there’s a good chance that could happen,” acknowledged City Clerk Richard Goldstein, who is the Doyle administration’s lobbyist on Smith Hill.
Goldstein said he first heard such talk from Daniel Beardsley, executive director of the League of Cities and Towns, at a meeting a few weeks ago, and proceeded to relay the news to key city officials.
Beardsley’s message about the local aid levels budgeted by the governor was that “it doesn’t look like we’re going to get it,” Goldstein related. “I’ve also heard it up at the Statehouse, that we shouldn’t plan on it, don’t plan on it.”
If there was ever any doubt about how the legislature plans to modify the Governor’s budget, there isn’t anymore; the plan is to reduce spending on education to protect spending on social welfare programs and state government operations.
Is this the strategy the citizens of Rhode Island want to see implemented?

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17 years ago

Makes sense to me. This solution helps create even stupider kids than the unions are already churning out and yet safely maintains the social programs those same stupid kids will need as stupid adults.
I can’t get out of this F’ing state fast enough…

17 years ago

Good one Greg. Sounds like Rhode Island’s own version of the circle of life.

Scott Bill Hirst
Scott Bill Hirst
17 years ago

It will be interesting when the state budget is adopted.Then we will get a defintive answer to state aid to education really.It will be particuliarly interesting in the interaction between the Governor and the Rhode Island General Assembly on this.
For your information I am being considered for appointment to the Chariho School Committee by the Hopkinton Town Council to fill a vacancy.The appointment should be made this Monday,May 22ND,.The five candidates include myself.I am the only one to have held elective office in town.One of my competitors spouse of a former council member is a teacher in Westerly and NEA member.
Unlike most Rhode Island communities in our regional school district in Chariho (Charlestown,Richmond,and Hopkinton),the local town council does not have the power to approve or reject the school budget institutionally.
I am sure most of you know the requirement of “maintenance of effort” principle that a school district is required to get the same amount of money as last year in their budget with the exception of decrease in student enrollment and nonrecurring expeneses.

17 years ago

Wow-Pass the buck down to the property taxes. Maybe RI will move from number 4 state/local tax burden into the “medal round”. All this will just postpone the inevetible until next year. Maybe we have to hit “number 1” on the tax parade before the people have had enough. Of course the Republican failure to adopt and run on a specific platform of payroll cuts coupled with tax cuts has been and continues to be shamefull.

17 years ago

I only hope the Governor, Kass, Neal et all have the guts to take advantage of the golden opportunity the General Assembly leadership appears to be handing them. The Gov proposed increases in education spending, real educational reforms designed to give parents (and indeed, all citizens) better results for RI’s very high per pupil spending, and holding the line on tax increases. The Dem leadership appears to be poised to raise taxes and cut education spending to protect its two core constituencies — public sector unions and the poverty industry (clients and providers). Rather than compromising, the Gov et al should go to war on this. Attack the Dems budget, veto it, dare them to override it, and go on the air again to ridicule them when they inevitably override his veto. And Kass should be pushing this story to City Journal, the WSJ, Weekly Standard and every other publication out there as an example (along with NJ) of the consequences of 74 years of Democratic policies. In advance of the 2008 presidential election, there may even be RNC money available to publicize this story — really, on a national scale, you can’t find a starker example of all that is wrong — and all that mainstream voters fear — with the Democratic party’s domestic policies. So I say, line up Val Forti, Gary Sasse, RISC, and all the other responsible adults, make it clear to suburban (and, in the case of Woonsocket, urban ethnic voters too) how they’ve been screwed, and, more importantly, why they’ve been screwed. So RI can keep offerin the nation’s best deal to people on welfare/RiteCare/subsidized daycare, the huge industry that “supports” them, and public sector union members who, on average, are doing much, much better than the average private sector Rhode Island worker and… Read more »

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