§ 16-3-3.1. Creation of regional school district planning board.
(a) The commissioner of elementary and secondary education shall order the creation of a regional school district planning board for the purpose of conducting a study of the feasibility of regionalization or other cooperative ventures if any of the following conditions are found to exist:
(1) High school enrollments are below or are projected to be less than one hundred (100) per grade;
(2) Per pupil spending is sixty-six percent (66%) or less of the statewide average for three (3) consecutive years;
(3) The appropriating authority finds that the community does not have the fiscal and economic capacity to provide educational programs consistent with law and regulations, based on factors included but not limited to per pupil assessed valuation, and personal income;
(4) The commissioner of elementary and secondary education determines that a school district does not have the capacity to comply with the Basic Education Program (BEP).
(b) In ordering the creation of a regional school district planning board the commissioner shall determine which cities or towns will be required to participate.
(c) In mandating a regionalization study, the commissioner should make certain that the study address the following questions:
(1) Will regionalization allow the cities or towns to offer a complete K through 12 educational program (in particular, if the town or city currently "tuitions out" some of its students)?
(2) Will regionalization allow the school system to offer a more comprehensive and/or diversified program for high school students (i.e., advanced language, mathematics, etc., specialized and/or remedial courses)?
(3) Will regionalization, by its size alone, allow savings through "economies of scale"?
(4) What effect will regionalization have on transportation costs for the school district and transportation times for students?
(5) What effect will regionalization have on class size and will that be beneficial or detrimental to the students' classroom performance, socialization skills, and/or participation in school activities?
(6) How will "spending per pupil" change with regionalization?
(7) Are there weaknesses in the curriculum or programs within a district that can be remedied by regionalization with a district with compensating strengths?
(8) What effect will existing labor contracts and bargaining agreements have on regionalization efforts?
(9) What new or diverse facility requirements will be needed if regionalization occurs and what are the costs of these facilities?
(10) What effect will regionalization have on disadvantaged and special populations within the districts?
(11) Will extracurricular activities and/or the student support services (guidance, library, etc.) be enhanced by regionalization?
(12) Will regionalization permit sufficient "local control" for all districts involved to assure parents that they have some influence on the education of their children?
(13) Will regionalization take into effect the unique socio-economic and cultural heritage of the participating cities and/or towns?
(14) Will regionalization have any effect on the vocational education program?
(15) Do comparative studies of regionalization in similar areas show improved school quality? and
(16) Do the regionalization plans take into effect projected demographic trends?
(d) The regional school district planning board shall report its findings within eighteen (18) months of its creation.
(P.L. 1988, ch. 336, § 6; P.L. 1989, ch. 269, § 1.)