The Senate Education Committee heard a bill last week that would allow Rhode Island public school departments to charge a fee for extra curricular activities. The bill (S 0112), sponsored by Sen. Louis DiPalma (Newport, Middletown, Tiverton, Little Compton), is a response to Rhode Island communities that are struggling to provide adequate education funding.
“It wouldn’t require schools to do it, but it would allow them to do it,” said DiPalma.
The bill was drafted after conversations with the Middletown School Committee about how to close budget shortfalls. To add additional pressure, DiPalma said that Middletown Public Schools will be impacted by the sequester, through reduction of federal aid. “It’s unconscionable and irresponsible,” said the lawmaker about the federal government’s inability to reach an agreement.
The legislation states that extracurricular activities often creates a disproportionate drain on school district budgets. The bill reads that while expenses grow to run athletic programs, the percent allocated to these programs are reduced.
Families that are unable to afford the fee would be able to apply for an exception, said DiPalma.
What do you think? Should schools be allowed the option to charge families for extracurricular activities?