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3/27/2015 Rep. Costantino wants commission to study consolidation of educational and municipal functions
STATE HOUSE – Believing it could have a potentially positive financial impact on state and local government, Rep. Gregory J. Costantino (D-Dist. 44, Lincoln, Smithfield, Johnston) has submitted a resolution that would create a 17-member commission to study the consolidation of municipal and educational functions on a county or statewide level.

The resolution, which was heard this week by the House Committee on Municipal Government, would task the commission with studying all aspects of consolidating municipal government and public education. The commission would be required to report back to the General Assembly no later than March 2, 2016.

“From time to time, the proposal has been brought up to consolidate towns or school districts,” said Representative Costantino. “These proposals have ranged from fire district consolidation to school district regionalization. Some have even gone to the extreme of suggesting that we abolish city and town government in favor of county government. The time has come to take a look at this seriously and professionally to determine what financial benefits, if any, consolidation would have for the people of this state.”

Proponents of consolidation insist that there would be a cost savings in administration and shared equipment, and that it would eliminate government waste. Those opposed to the idea say that overhauling the entire system would save no money at all, and that larger governmental entities would cause greater potential for waste.

“What we really need is an intensive study by those who can look at the issue objectively to determine the financial impact, decide if that impact would be a positive or negative one, and report back with their findings,” said Representative Costantino, who serves on the House Municipal Government Committee. “Up to now, we’ve heard an awful lot of surmise and conjecture, when what we need are cold, hard facts.”

The special legislative commission would include five members from the House, three from the Senate, one from the Rhode Island League of Cities and Towns, one from the Rhode Island Association of School Committees, one from the Rhode Island Association of Administrators, one from the Rhode Island chapter of the American Federation of Teachers, one from the Rhode Island chapter of the National Education Association, one from the Rhode Island Independent School Association, two from the general public, and the commissioner of elementary and secondary education.

The members of the commission would receive no compensation for their services.

For more information, contact:
Daniel Trafford, Publicist
State House Room 20
Providence, RI 02903