During Tuesday's school committee meeting, members voted to support legislation that asks state politicians to investigate the benefits of consolidating Rhode Island education systems.
School Committee Chairman Charles Tsonos said "now is the time" for cost-saving legislation as major organizational changes are planned for the state.
"I wanted to bring this to the school committee so we could go on record...It can be done," he said, adding communities across the country retain their sense of identity while operating in school districts larger than Rhode Island. "It's a start."
"Be it resolved that we, the East Providence School Committee, respectfully request that the General Assembly establish a Commission to recommend the reorganization and consolidation of Rhode Island’s education system so as to combine and consolidate in such a fashion that such a reorganization maintains the individual local community’s identity and responsibility presently vested therein and results in a restructured, efficient, cost effective educational system for the State of Rhode Island and its respective Cities and Towns," reads part of the resolution.
The motion passed 4-1; member Ryan Tellier was the lone no vote. He worried consolidation would indeed eradicate East Providence's identity. After the meeting, he said department merges can harm more than help, referencing local policing units.
In addition to the resolution vote, Member Chrissy Rossi read off a lengthy statement that stated the budget commission's presence was a political move, noting budget commission members are not paid for their work. Also facing dire straights, Woonsocket and Providence do not have a budget commission in their cities.
See the attached .pdf to read the whole resolution.