PROVIDENCE — The Rhode Island State Senate approved legislation Thursday, Jan. 3, that will give it 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 Jan 1.
Sponsored by Sen. Hanna M. Gallo (D-Dist. 27, Cranston, West Warwick), the bill,(2013-S0002aa), 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. Senate Finance Committee Chairman Daniel DaPonte (D-Dist. 14, East Providence) was among the co-sponsors of the bill.
The legislation, which was introduced on Jan. 2, was acted upon Thursday 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 and Sen. Harold M. Metts (D-Dist. 6, Providence).
Similar legislation,(2013-H5004), has been introduced in the House of Representatives by Rep. Samuel A. Azzinaro (D-Dist. 37, Westerly).