Worse than Flat Funding II: Mounting Evidence that Many Cities and Towns Are Facing an Unexpected Education Cut
A chart available on the Rhode Island Department of Education website gives a line-item breakdown of the state education aid allocated to each Rhode Island city and town. Here’s East Providence’s allocation as an example…
|CHARTER SCHOOL INDIRECT AID||$3,251|
|FULL DAY KINDERGARTEN||$63,000|
|GROUP HOME AID||$630,000|
|TOTAL FY 2007 AID||$26,762,254|
The FY2007 number from the RI DOE report that matches East Providence’s FY2007 local aid amount in the legislature’s budget is not the “General Aid” figure from the list above, but the “Total FY2007 Aid” figure, which includes group home aid.
Every community that received group home aid in 2007 is having their state education aid reduced by exactly their FY07 group home allocation. So, unless all Rhode Island group homes are being shut down (or unless a separate appropriation exists elsewhere in the budget that provides for group-home-related education costs), the legislature’s budget contains true cuts in education funding that go deeper than just canceling the hoped-for increases.
A true cut explains how East Providence went from facing a $2.9 million deficit in the May 30 Projo to facing a $3.7 million deficit in today’s Projo, most of the difference being the $630,000 cut by the legislature from EP’s total education aid.
It looks as if the Mayor of Providence, whose budget has already been criticized for not funding “tens of millions” dollars worth of city-employee raises, must now find an additional $3.1 million dollars in lost state funding, just to reach flat-funding for his city employees in FY08.
Although the Warwick Beacon reported today that the Warwick school system is $1.1 million in the hole because city officials were counting on a 3% increase that will not be coming, the true deficit in Warwick is closer to $1.5 million, because of a $360,000 cut in Warwick’s education aid from last year (again, unless group home funding is being compensated for in some as-of-yet undiscovered area of the budget).
And so on, and so on, and so on…
I know that Rhode Island law says that the state must reimburse cities and towns for their group home costs…
16-64-1.1(a)(3) — Each city or town shall receive state education aid in an amount equal to the number of group home or other residential facility “beds” in that community multiplied by a per pupil rate, subject to appropriation, intended to reflect the average cost per pupil based on the blend of regular education and special education students in group homes as derived from figures supplied on June 30 of the reference year as defined in section 16-7-16(11).Is it possible, however, that the legislature has reduced the “general aid” to each city or town containing a group home, thus reducing total funding to those communities, without reducing the on-paper funding connected to the group homes?