You can write an entire book or two about the funding of education in Rhode Island. But this is a tour of the entire budget, so we’re just going to skim some of the important points.
In 2013, the Governor’s budget would provide $674 million to all the cities and towns, to help run their schools, plus another $46 million for charter schools. This is up from $616 million last year, and the difference is revenue from the proposed increase in the tax on restaurants and hotels.
As of 2010, the latest year for which the collected municipal budget data is available, all the cities and towns together spent $1.79 million on education. To that amount, the state contributed $592 million, plus another $30 million for charter schools.
A couple of points leap out here. The first is that, just since 2010, charter schools have seen a 53% increase in state funding, while everyone else got 15%. You might sniff at that and say 15% isn’t nothing, but in 2008, the traditional schools got $98 million more than they got in 2010, and $16 million more than they’ll get in the proposed budget — the rosiest scenario on the table — in 2013. That is, between 2008 and 2010, they were cut from $690 million to $592 million. The Governor’s proposed increase doesn’t even get back to the 2008 level. Not to belabor the point or anything, but during each of those years, rich taxpayers were granted an increase on the “flat tax” cut.
Oh, and the charter schools? They got no cut at all. Some years they might not have received what they were hoping for, but between 2007 and the present, each year they received more than the previous year. Sauce for the goose is apparently too good for the gander.