Commissioner Gist’s NonRhode Island Perspective
Whatever one thinks of her style and policies — which don’t uniformly fold comfortably into any faction of Rhode Island politics — the outside perspective that Education Commissioner Deborah Gist is bringing to the discussion is refreshing. Take this, from a Newport Daily News article on Friday, discussing the effects of the proposed funding formula and regionalization on Aquidneck Island:
Gist explained that, if enacted as proposed, the formula would eliminate the regionalization bonus the state currently offers. Regionalization is supposed to save money, Gist said, so why should the state pay districts extra money when they are reducing their costs?
One thinks of claims that the Portsmouth wind turbine turns a profit, although if state incentive subsidies are removed, the surplus goes away. That local officials around the state appear to believe that the state should reward them for making smart decisions (if you believe that regionalization is smart) illustrates an unhealthy lack of authoritative independence. It’s also an indication of how policies become implemented out of taxpayer/voter reach.
Of course, I also find it humorous that everybody thought a “fair funding formula” would benefit their communities. In the fantasy land of Rhode Island lingo, “fair” means everybody gets more.