2007 -- S 0896
A N A C T
RELATING TO EDUCATION -- EDUCATION EQUITY AND PROPERTY TAX RELIEF ACT
Introduced By: Senators Gallo, Connors, P Fogarty, C Levesque, and Felag
Date Introduced: March 27, 2007
It is enacted by the General Assembly as follows:
SECTION 1. Section 16-7.2-2 of the General Laws in Chapter 16-7.2 entitled "The
Education Equity and Property Tax Relief Act" is hereby amended to read as follows:
16-7.2-2. Joint legislative committee to establish a permanent education foundation
aid formula for Rhode Island. -- (a) There is hereby established a joint legislative committee to
develop a basic foundation support program and an appropriate transition plan to fully implement
a new funding system. The committee shall consist of ten (10) members, five (5) of which shall
be appointed by the speaker of the house, one (1) of which shall be from the minority party, and
five (5) members appointed by the president of the senate, one (1) of which shall be from the
minority party. The speaker of the house and president of the senate shall each appoint a
committee co-chair. The joint legislative committee is directed to consider the following
framework in developing a new education foundation support program:
(1) A state education funding formula that is student population and needs driven.
Student counts should include enrollments, students eligible for free and reduced lunch, those
participating in language assistance programs, and special education. Provisions should be made
for those school districts that experience declining enrollments.
(2) The accounting for "extraordinary special education expenditures" in special
education spending for one child in a given fiscal year.
(3) A per pupil foundation amount to be used in the calculation of school funding. The
per pupil foundation amount should be based on what the cost is to provide an equitable and
adequate education, and consider various cost factors, such as pupil-teacher ratios, teacher and
staff compensation, technology investments, educational supplies, teacher training and
professional development, student performance assessments, curriculum offerings and support
services and other costs associated with the delivery of educational services.
(4) Per pupil cost, based on a least cost option plan to provide purchase of service
contracts in areas such as equipment, repair, benefits, transportation, general purchasing, capital
construction, data processing and health and other insurance programs. In addition, the
department of education should assist regional collaboratives in identifying opportunities to
maximize multiple school district participation for "high cost" programs.
(5) Various methods of funding the system.
(6) A transition education funding plan.
(b) The speaker of the house and president of the senate, in consultation with the
committee co-chairs, are hereby directed to appoint a foundation aid technical advisory group,
and a property tax relief technical advisory group.
(c) The foundation aid technical advisory group shall advise and assist the committee in
recommending foundation aid amounts by:
(1) Identifying specific resources and least cost options to provide every child the
opportunity to necessary educational opportunities to meet education performance standards; and
(2) Systematically calculating the amount of per pupil funding necessary to support an
effective and efficient educational system. The group may create task forces to consider the needs
of special populations, comprehensive education programs, and noneducational support activities,
composed of experts in these areas. In developing a foundation aid amount, the group shall
consider, among other factors, pupil-teacher ratios, compensation, collective bargaining practices,
technology investments, educational supplies, teacher training and professional development,
student performance assessments, curriculum offerings and support services and all other costs
and needs associated with the delivery of educational services.
(d) The property tax relief technical advisory group shall advise and assist the committee
in identifying the options and the impact of replacing existing local education property tax levies
that support the funding of elementary and secondary education with other resources.
(e) The joint committee shall issue a report outlining its findings and recommendations
March 15, 2007 May 15, 2007. All state agencies and
departments shall be directed
to cooperate with and provide all necessary information to the joint legislative committee.
SECTION 2. This act shall take effect upon passage.