NEW: Senate Pass Bill to Place Hold on Education Board Merger
Thursday, January 03, 2013
The Rhode Island Senate today approved legislation that will give the Senate more time to conduct a proper advice and consent process by postponing implementation of the new Board of Education, which was scheduled to take effect January 1.
Sponsored by Sen. Hanna M. Gallo (D-Dist. 27, Cranston, West Warwick), the bill, 2013-S 0002aa, will maintain the existence of the Board of Governors for Higher Education and the Board of Regents for Elementary and Secondary Education until the new board goes into effect, which under the bill’s provisions will be March 7.
The legislation, which was introduced on January 2, was acted upon today by the Senate as a result of Senator Gallo’s request for immediate consideration.
“The Senate has an obligation to fully and properly vet the Governor’s appointments to the new Board of Education, and that simply was not possible given the time constraints before the new board was set to go into effect on January 1,” said Senator Gallo. “This short time extension will allow the Senate committee and full Senate an appropriate amount of time to do its due diligence on an issue of such great importance to the state’s schools.”
The legislation was approved in the Senate today on a vote of 38 to 0 and will now go to the House of Representatives for consideration.
The new 11-member Board of Education was established through the 2013 state budget enacted last June to enhance coordination between higher and lower education in order to close skills gaps and make high school and college graduates more competitive and marketable. Gov. Lincoln Chafee has announced his selection of Eva-Marie Mancuso to chair the new board but other appointments have not yet been made.
Senator Gallo’s bill will also delay current statutory reporting deadlines for the new board.
The legislation was co-sponsored by President of the Senate M. Teresa Paiva Weed, Senate Majority Leader Dominick J. Ruggerio, Senate Finance Committee Chairman Daniel Da Ponte and Sen. Harold M. Metts (D-Dist. 6, Providence).
Identical legislation, 2013-H 5004, has been introduced in the House of Representatives by Rep. Samuel A. Azzinaro (D-Dist. 37, Westerly).