PROVIDENCE, R.I. -- Seeking to separate himself from his leading opponent, state treasurer and Democratic candidate for governor Frank T. Caprio declared his intent Tuesday to keep the state's high-profile Education Commissioner Deborah Gist.
In actuality, the $190,000-a year Gist has a contract with the Board of Regents that runs through June 30, 2013. The governor is only one vote on that board.
Caprio's key rival, independent Lincoln Chafee, has said he would want to sit down with Gist and "compare our education philosophies" before committing to keeping her in the job.
Chafee also said he did not support all of the "reforms'' outlined in the state's successful application for $75 million in federal funds, over four years, including possibly doubling the number of publicly-funded charter schools.
Thank god we have a reasonable independent candidate.
What's more, things could change much more quickly here than I realized thanks to this:
Another important education issue facing the next governor is the makeup of the nine-member Board of Regents for Elementary and Secondary Education. The Regents set education policy and oversee Gist and the state Department of Education.
The terms of several members, including Flanders, have technically expired. The governor nominates members, who must then be appointed by the state Senate.
Governor Carcieri, who is term-limited and cannot run for reelection, submitted the names of Flanders and Regent Angus Davis for reappointment in May and nominated two new members: Keith Stokes, executive director of the state Economic Development Corporation, and Andy Moffitt, a lawyer and business consultant who is married to Gina Raimondo, a candidate for general treasurer.
However, the Senate failed to act on the nominations and it is unclear whether they will convene this fall or wait until next year, when the General Assembly is in session, to take action.
It is really the Board of Regents which pulled off a bloodless coup to turn education in RI upside down. They're the decisive point.
I dropped off $200 at Chafee HQ this morning (on top of $50 already). Make Deb Gist sad and chip in here!