Editor’s note: Rep. Caldwell secured additional funding for the schools in fiscal year 2020. She has not represented that she was responsible for the funding formula. Read more about the issue HERE and HERE.
The long-awaited School Education Funding Formula was established in 2010, two years before Anthony Giarrusso was elected as State Representative for East and West Greenwich. To read that Justine Caldwell is taking credit for the increased funding to our school district, when in fact she had absolutely nothing to do with this aid from RIDE [Rhode Island Department of Education] is telling. Why would she misrepresent this important funding stream when it is so easy to check? What else is she misrepresenting to the voters in our district? Transparency and accountability should matter.
Tricia Colgan is a resident of East Greenwich.
This is not an op/ed. This is a Facebook post/rant at best. Pathetic that this is published as “news.”
Tricia, thank you for standing up for transparency and accountability. I agree that transparence and accountability matter. Like you, I also would take issue with anyone claiming that Representative Caldwell created the School Funding Formula. The good news is that I can clarify for you and others that no one has made that claim. This might be a simple misunderstanding of the issue. The reports of Representative Caldwell’s successful efforts on behalf of the students and taxpayers regarding school funding was not related to the creation of the formula, which you correctly point out predates her. Instead, they relate to a recent decision by the State to reduce our school funding significantly, due to an error that the State had made that resulted in what the State claimed was an overpayment in a prior year. When the Town was aggressively working to retain these funds arguing that the clawback would cause a burden on taxpayers, we were met with great resistance. That is when Representative Caldwell jumped in, worked with the School Committee, the Town Council and the State to restore and preserve these critical funds. Restoration of these funds meant significant tax savings to residents in that year and in every year going forward, as the additional funds to fill that hole would need to be paid every year by the taxpayers as part of the Maintenance of Effort requirement in State law. The reason that I shared this information was to inform those who may not have participated in the many Town Council meetings and School Committee meetings where this was openly discussed in great detail in front of our engaged residents. I note that it was also discussed during our budget process. This work that Representative Caldwell did on behalf our students and taxpayers would not show up in a voting record anywhere, but will show up every year in the reduced tax bills that all of our residents pay. I thank you for your engagement and I hope that I have clarified this issue for you. You are right, transparency and accountability matter. They matter a great deal.