UPDATE: The charter school bills have been scratched from Thursday's committee agendas, according to RIPR Political Reporter Ian Donnis at the Statehouse.
The bills could make it more difficult to open new charter schools.
One bill calls for a hiatus on granting new charters, due to concerns over funding. A legislative committee has suggested the state re-examine the formula for funding districts and charter schools, which currently receive state and local dollars for each student who enrolls.
Both the House and Senate versions of the bill would require approval from both the city council and the school committee of any city or town whose students would be served by a new charter school. The bills would require the same approvals for existing charter schools with plans for expansion.
Supporters say the state needs to reign in charter schools because they are reducing funding for other public schools. Opponents say the bills will devastate many Rhode Island families, whose children are on lengthy waiting lists to attend charter schools.
The State Board of Education recently approved a new charter school in Woonsocket, which would serve students from several communities. The school, a special type of charter school known as a mayoral academy, is sponsored by the mayor and is free from the requirement to contribute to the state pension plan.
Although some statehouse analysts believe the governor could veto the charter school "hiatus," the future of the bill does cast doubt on plans for a new school charter school. The chair of the Board of Education has not yet responded to a request for comment from RIPR.