Maybe Funding Isn’t the Issue

Although any such panel’s findings should be taken with a grain of salt until thoroughly verified, a legislative task force of the RI Senate offers an important reminder not to lose perspective while contemplating Providence schools’ problems, as Eli Sherman reports for WPRI:

Sen. Ryan Pearson, the task force’s leader, has been crunching numbers to determine how well schools are being funded by both the state and the communities based on the formula, which was enacted in 2010 after years of debate over how the state should parcel out school funding. …

“Providence is not the worst-funded district in the state. Woonsocket beats them by a country mile, and Pawtucket is also badly underfunded,” Pearson, D-Cumberland, told Target 12. Those districts have 70% of the state’s English language learners, he said.

One thing this panel reminds us about is that, to some extent, all of this is a dance about money — who gets it and who doesn’t.  This further reminds us that it isn’t all about money.  At state and local levels, it’s increasingly clear that government officials in Rhode Island have long been back-filling their inability to accomplish our community’s goals with more cash.

That’s not going to work.


Featured image: A chart comparing the state appropriation and student enrollment from the RI Senate, as reproduced on WPRI.


Of the following two issues related to Rhode Island’s public schools, which one is a greater concern?

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