§ 16-60-6 Commissioner of elementary and secondary education. The regents shall appoint a commissioner of elementary and secondary education who shall serve at the pleasure of the regents, provided that the commissioner's initial engagement by the regents shall be for a period of not more than three (3) years. For the purpose of appointing, retaining, or dismissing a commissioner, the governor shall serve as an additional voting member of the board of regents, and provided that in the case of a tie, the president of the senate shall cast the deciding vote. The position of commissioner shall be in the unclassified service of the state and he or she shall serve as the chief executive officer of the board of regents and as the chief administrative officer of the department of elementary and secondary education. The commissioner of elementary and secondary education shall have the duties that are defined in this section and in this title and any other additional duties that may be determined by the regents, and shall perform any other duties that may be vested in the commissioner by law. In addition to the general supervision of the department of elementary and secondary education and the appointment of the several officers and employees of the department, it shall be the duty of the commissioner of elementary and secondary education:
(1) To develop and implement a systematic program of information gathering, processing, and analysis addressed to every aspect of elementary and secondary education in the state, especially as that information relates to current and future educational needs.
(2) To prepare a master plan for elementary and secondary education in the state; to coordinate the goals and objectives of the public elementary and secondary education sector with the activities of the nonpublic elementary and secondary education sector where feasible.
(3) To communicate with and seek the advice of those concerned with and affected by the board of regents' determinations.
(4) To implement broad policy as it pertains to the goals and objectives established by the regents; to enforce standards and to exercise general supervision over public elementary and secondary education in the state and over all elementary and secondary nonpublic education in the state as provided in subdivision (8) of this section; to assist in the preparation of the budget for elementary and secondary education and to be responsible upon direction of the regents for the allocation of appropriations, the acquisition, holding, disposition, and general management of property.
(5) To be responsible for the coordination of the various elementary and secondary educational functions among the educational agencies of the state including local school districts and to encourage and to assist in the cooperation among them so that maximum efficiency and economy may be achieved.
(6) To assist the regents in the preparation and presentation annually to the state budget officer, in accordance with § 35-3-4, of a total state elementary and secondary educational budget which shall include, but not be limited to, the budget of the department of elementary and secondary education, subcommittees and agencies, and state aid to local school districts.
(7) To supervise the operation of the department of elementary and secondary education, to have the duties as defined in § 16-1-5 and in this title or in law wherever outlined, and other additional duties and responsibilities that may be assigned by the regents.
(8) To perform the duties vested in the board of regents with relation to nonpublic elementary and secondary educational institutions within the state under the terms of chapter 40 of this title, and other laws that affect nonpublic elementary and secondary education in the state.
(9) To supervise the following specific functions:
(i) To recommend the basic subjects and courses of study to be taught and instructional standards to be maintained in the public elementary and secondary schools in the state.
(ii) To recommend standards and qualifications of teachers and to issue certificates upon approval of standards and qualifications by the regents.
(iii) To distribute state school funds in accordance with law and regulations of the board of regents.
(iv) To certify as to the necessity of school construction and that standards and design are in accordance with law and regulations of the regents and to approve a design for school construction throughout the state.
(v) To certify that school library standards and services are in accordance with law and regulations of the board of regents.
(vi) To recommend to the board of regents matters relating to the transportation of pupils to school.
(vii) To require the observance of all laws relating to elementary and secondary schools and education.
(viii) To interpret school law and to decide any controversies that may be appealed to him or her from decisions of local school committees.
(ix) To prepare and recommend standard forms for the use of local schools when reporting to the department of elementary and secondary education.
(x) To prepare standard accounting and auditing procedures for local school districts, except for the purposes of subdivision (3) of § 16-24-2 which shall be done in conjunction with the auditor general.
(xi) To prepare uniform budgeting procedures for local school districts.
(xii) To determine when special purpose grants made to local school districts shall be eligible for reimbursement through the school operations aid formula in accordance with chapter 7 of this title, and to designate the purpose(s) for which the local school district may use the school operations aid reimbursement, including reimbursement on local matching funds used to support the special purpose grant. The commissioner shall promulgate and adopt rules and regulations to carry out the intent of this subsection.
(10) To approve and accredit elementary and secondary schools in accordance with the policy and regulations of the board of regents.
(11) To be responsible for the administration of policies, rules, and regulations of the board of regents with relation to the entire field of elementary and secondary education within the state not specifically granted to any other department, board, or agency and not incompatible with law.
(12) To receive from law enforcement agencies a list
periodically of the names of Rhode Island missing children and to disseminate
these lists to local school districts.
(P.L. 1981, ch. 32, § 3; P.L. 1981, ch. 291, art. 13, § 2; P.L. 1985, ch. 75, § 1; P.L. 1988, ch. 336, § 2; P.L. 1988, ch. 584, § 1; P.L. 1990, ch. 483, § 1.)