Removing Unfunded Mandates
As John Howell reports in the Warwick Beacon, cities and towns are going to be clamoring for a reduction in unfunded mandates (ie; rules or laws imposed by the state on municipalities without the concomitant funds).
“There’s slim hope that the legislature would relieve schools of providing textbooks for non public schools or special education busing,” said Daniel Beardsley, president of the Rhode Island League of Cities and Towns. Textbooks, busing and much more are on the radar screen, although there was a reluctance on the part of most contracted for this story to disclose too much. Efforts appear to be directed at arriving at a consensus and drafting an agenda before going public….
Timothy Duffy, executive director of the Rhode Island Association of School Committees, said yesterday the group has forwarded a list of mandates that “hopefully” the governor will consider lifting as part of his supplemental budget. They include eliminating step increases for teachers; lifting the requirement that school nurses are also certified teachers and revising requirements that public schools provide out of district transportation for private and parochial schools. He noted that often private and parochial schools operate on different school calendars yet municipalities are required to provide busing at times when public schools are closed.
Ha. Yeah, “eliminating step increases for teachers”, that’ll happen! Regardless, I’m all for removing the various transportation requirements. Warwick Mayor Scott Avedesian also recommended removing the school bus monitor requirement. He also had a pretty convenient complaint (conspiracy alert!):
Mayor Scott Avedisian had a…suggestion: the requirement…for the city to conduct a full revaluation every nine years with a statistical revaluation in three year increments. When the revaluation requirement was enacted, the state underwrote the cost. That’s no longer the case and cities and towns are faced with the burden.
In Warwick, the most recent revaluation was conducted at the peak of the housing market. So removing that revaluation requirement would probably keep current tax rates on individual properties the same, which is to say artificially high. In tight economic times, I’m guessing that would be fine with Avedesian who is already faced with decreasing revenues. But it would stink for Warwick property owners. I’m with Mayor Avedesian on this one, though:
The mayor also targeted the potential inconsistency between legislation that caps how much municipalities can increase the tax levy and the Caruolo Act that gives school committees the power to sue a municipality for additional funding.
“If it goes to Caruolo we really need to change the law so a judge can’t do something that doesn’t fit within the cap,” he said.