RICHMOND — At Tuesday night’s meeting, the Richmond Town Council passed a resolution that will initiate legislation to enable amendments to the Chariho Act.
“The council has requested the legislature take up some amendments to the Chariho Act, two specifically. One is to reduce the number of school committee members from eleven to nine, in section ten of the act. The second one is to enable the school district to assign elementary students to schools closer to their home regardless of the town, in section thirteen of the Act,” said Town Council President B. Joseph Reddish.
“Of those two items, one balances out the ability for Richmond to be represented on the school committee. The secondary item provides the ability for the school committee to make decisions on where to put students,” Reddish said.
Town Administrator Rob Rock said he had attended the Chariho School Committee’s budget meeting on Saturday where he heard evidence that flexibility in placing students in the elementary schools could save the district money.
“Basically as Superintendent Ricci explained, there is one particular elementary school that has a classroom that has one more student than is allowed, but since that student came into the school after October first, the school year could continue. The issue becomes if that student were to come in at the beginning of the school year, Mr. Ricci wouldn’t allow that class to have 26 students and would have to hire another teacher so that the class could be split, so that the classes fall under the maximum number of students,” Rock said.
“So I asked the question at the meeting on Saturday: Would the portion of the Chariho Act that says you have to go to the elementary school in the town that you live in, if that were to be removed, and if the superintendent had the ability to take a student who may live closer to a neighboring town’s elementary school and have them go there, (would that) rectify the issue so that a classroom wouldn’t be over capacity? And he said that would possibly help,” Rock said.
Reddish said that changing the amendment would also allow children to go to school in their own neighorhoods.
More on the story in today's Chariho Times.