Friday, December 09, 2011

See You in April?

Elisabeth Harrison:

The Providence City Council’s Education Subcommittee has released draft findings after a series of meetings on Achievement First, the charter operator looking to open two elementary schools in the capitol city.

The report finds that Achievement First would have a negative financial impact on Providence schools, to the tune of between $6 million and $9 million. That’s even after a projected $1 million savings from teacher layoffs due to a reduction in student body.

“Under this scenario, we would expect Providence to have to close an elementary school as a result of the opening of the proposed pair of Mayoral academies,” the report says. “This would be particularly difficult after the experience the District had last Spring of closing four schools and repurposing two others.”

Despite this, the group is recommending that Achievement First get a green light for one elementary school, but not two as their application currently envisions.

“While supporting the opening of the first AF school on schedule, we also recommend postponing the opening of the second school for an additional three years,” the report states. “During that time, the AF school can win the support of parents and provide the Providence Public Schools with a better opportunity to prepare for the changes that the opening might bring.”

This would be a big improvement, particularly if the enrollment was divided equally between districts. I suppose the regents can probably do whatever they want, but there is nothing in the statute suggesting that the proposal can be modified so extensively at this point. Luckily there is plenty of time to resubmit it before March 1.

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