JFC making progress on schools funding method changes


The funding method for the Bristol Warren Regional School District could change by the district's next fiscal year, if voters approve a proposed measure by the Joint Finance Committee in November.

Rather than each town funding the school district based on an Oct. 1 enrollment "snapshot" of that year, Committee members have proposed using a rolling average of student enrollment over the past 13 years, starting with the 2014-2015 school year. The average daily membership — as reported to the state on the last day of the school year — will be used.

Committee members met on Jan. 22 to draft the proposed enabling legislation, which will have to be ratified by both Bristol and Warren's town councils. State legislators would then have to approve it, followed by voter's approval in November.

The Committee also discussed altering the makeup of the Committee, increasing the total number of members from nine to 10. Currently, there are six Bristol representatives to Warren's three. The number of representatives per town is based on each town's population.

The proposed legislation to change the committee's makeup, however, doesn't specify that the representative would be from Warren, which is what Warren representatives would like.

"We're out-gunned, that's how we feel," said Christopher Stanley, president of Warren's Town Council. "The language we have doesn't help the problem at all. If it's still based in population, Bristol would get another person."

The Committee couldn't discuss variances to that proposed legislation, because it wasn't specified on their agenda. Doing so would potentially break open meeting laws.

The Committee will meet again in February, at a date and time to be determined.


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Jim McGaw

A lifelong Portsmouth resident, Jim graduated from Portsmouth High School in 1982 and earned a journalism degree from the University of Rhode Island in 1986. He's worked two different stints at East Bay Newspapers, for a total of 18 years with the company so far. When not running all over town bringing you the news from Portsmouth, Jim listens to lots and lots and lots of music, watches obscure silent films from the '20s and usually has three books going at once. He also loves to cook crazy New Orleans dishes for his wife of 25 years, Michelle, and their two sons, Jake and Max.