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State of Rhode Island General Assembly
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Senate passes Sheehan bill requiring community representation on charter school boards
STATE HOUSE — The Senate has passed legislation introduced by Sen. James C. Sheehan (D-Dist. 36, Narragansett, North Kingstown) that would require representation from the community on the state’s charter school boards.
The bill (
) would require school committees to appoint one designee to the board of directors of the governing body of any charter public school where students who are residents of the school committee’s district comprise at least 5 percent of the student body at the charter public school.
“Charter schools were designed to more independently experiment to find creative approaches or ideas to improve education for our young people,” said Senator Sheehan. “It is an innovative approach to education, and these new approaches or ideas would be shared with the public schools. However, this independence should not come at the expense of full public transparency or accountability.”
Similarly, the commonwealth of Massachusetts has adopted guidelines on the composition, conduct, and transparency of charter school boards, also requiring that the boards be held accountable for their fiduciary duties as trustees of public funds.
“The best way to ensure accountability is by having representation by elected officials or their designees on the governance boards of charter schools to approve and monitor the expenditure of public funds as is required in other public schools,” said Senator Sheehan.
The measure now moves to the House of Representatives for consideration.
For more information, contact:
State House Room 20
Providence, RI 02903
Lt. Governor's Office
Secretary of State
Link to Public Records Request