The newest mayoral charter school set to open in Rhode Island has picked a location in downtown Woonsocket.
RISE Prep will start with a kindergarten class this fall and grow to include a middle school. This will be the first charter elementary school in Woonsocket.
Woonsocket Mayor Lisa Baldelli-Hunt says she does not expect any financial impact on her local school district.
“This is no different than if the 41 students who are going to RISE prep didn’t go there, if they went to private school, a catholic school, a laboratory school or if they just moved out our community and went to school in another community,” said Baldelli-Hunt.
RISE Academy will serve students from Woonsocket, Burrillville and North Smithfield.
Critics tried to stop this school and other charters from opening and expanding, because of concerns they drain funding from school districts. Baldelli-Hunt rejects that argument, saying families need options.
“We have students in our community now that do not go to our public school, they go do private schools, they go to public schools,” said Baldelli-Hunt. “We’re not getting the funding for them either, but that’s the choice of that parent.”
It will share a building in downtown Woonsocket with the operator of Beacon Charter School, which plans to open a new middle school.
Baldelli-Hunt added that the new school will be good for the city’s struggling economy.
“It’s nice to see that we have activity in our downtown area that will help certainly from an economic development standpoint, and it is in close proximity to the high school for the Beacon Charter School for the Arts.”
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