These bills would effectively prevent the opening of new "mayoral academy" public charter schools.
- The Rhode Island General Assembly
House Bill 5160 would give veto power over the approval of Mayoral Academy charters to town and city councils and school committees of each enrolling community proposed in a charter application. Such a system would be so cumbersome as to make the opening of new mayoral academies nearly impossible.
The General Assembly has empowered our state Board of Education, staffed by the Department of Education, to authorize new public charter schools, based on the quality of the proposed program and the needs of Rhode Island families. We believe this system, which is the same system enacted by our neighbors in Massachusetts, Connecticut, New York and New Jersey, represents good public policy.
State law already mandates enhanced local accountability for mayoral academies: a mayor from one of its enrollment districts must chair the school board of a mayoral academy and all board members must represent enrolling districts.
Given the high quality of these public schools, the state should not be enacting laws to block access to the mayoral academy option.
For these reasons, and given that no other state in the United States has a law resembling HB5160, we urge General Assembly members to oppose these bills.
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