2014-08-07 / Opinion

Focus on Public Schools

To the Editor:

The Newport City Council currently has no formal position on charter schools. However, as the city’s mayor, I do not support the opening of a charter school in the community. It is my belief that Newport is able to provide many if not all the experiences that charter schools offer while at the same time not diverting funds from the public school system.

I have every confidence that as the Newport City Council and Newport School Committee work together to grow and nurture learning opportunities, students in Newport will have increased access and opportunities in our present system. Newport schools have rich and productive partnerships already in place and now is the time to work collaboratively with all groups concerned with our public education system and not to divide our efforts.

The current method by which charter schools are funded only diverts limited resources away from the very population of students that charter schools claim they wish to serve and creates a division in the community that I do not believe is healthy.

Recently, the Rhode Island Superintendent’s Association, working with the State’s legislature, received direction to review how charter schools are funded and to make recommendations to the legislature. I urge that we pause until the association completes its work and makes its final recommendations.

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