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Chariho seeks advice from Commissioner Gist

May 6, 2011

WOOD RIVER JCT. -- The Chariho Regional School Committee unanimously approved authorizing Ricci to request a legal advisory from state Department of Education Commissioner Deborah Gist regarding funding for the Metropolitan Regional Career and Technical Center, commonly known as MET School.

Ricci explained that the MET School is considered a statewide institution so students from any district in Rhode Island can attend.

And under the new funding formula for educational aid, those districts -- Chariho included -- will have to cover the students' tuition costs. Under the old system, he said, they weren't charged.

"You have a Career and Technical Center next door," Superintendent Barry Ricci told the school board. As such, he said it would make no sense to fund students going to the MET School when they have similar facilities at Chariho.
Ricci went on to question if it's appropriate to expect Chariho or any other district with a tech center to pay tuition for a similar institution so many miles away.

He added that the Chariho center offers sequences of courses that help to ensure that a student can enter a particular job field upon graduation. There is no evidence that the MET School does that, he said.

When asked if he should consult the district's legal counsel, Ricci said that he did. And the solicitor recommended waiting to take a stance on this issue because there is legislation being produced that could offer a solution.

"Ninety-nine percent of the time I agree with him," Ricci said. He went on to say he doesn't agree this time because he doesn't want students applying to the MET School under the assumption Chariho will pay their tuition.

"It's a way to make your position clear," he added.

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