The Legislation

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A Summary of the Legislation

School Regionalization Legislation Highlights
Dated: 6/28/22

The ballot question to be considered by the voters will read:

"Shall an act passed at the January, 2022 session of the General Assembly entitled ‘AN ACT AUTHORIZING THE CITY OF NEWPORT AND TOWN OF MIDDLETOWN TO ESTABLISH A REGIONAL SCHOOL DISTRICT AND PROVIDING FOR STATE AID FOR SCHOOL HOUSING COSTS AT SCHOOL HOUSING REIMBURSEMENT RATES FOR REGIONAL SCHOOL DISTRICTS WHICH, INCLUDING INCENTIVES, MAY EXCEED 80% OF DEBT SERVICE FOR EXPENDITURES ELIGIBLE FOR STATE AID, be approved?”

The regional school district contemplates the merging of the local school committees into a new regional district committee as well as merging the administrative functions of both local school districts.

Highlights from the legislation:

1. Regionalization will allow for 80% reimbursement for any bonds issued between January 1, 2022 and June 30, 2026. (Section 2)

2. First day of business July 1, 2024 (Section 3). The local school committees continue to operate but cease to exist after June 30,2024. During the transition period the regional school district shall develop plans for the effective operation of the new district.

3. Equal representation (Section 5) the regional school district will be comprised of 7 elected members with a minimum of three from, Middletown and three from Newport with the 7th being elected at large as well and would be one individual receiving the highest number of votes in that composition.

4. Regional school committee the first election being held in November of 2023 for a three-year term ending in November of 2026 with 2-year terms thereafter.

5. Regional district authority (Section 7) states that a regional district is a separate and distinct entity that has the powers of condemnation and the power to bond.

6. Regional district education costs (Section 11) shall be apportioned between the City and Town based upon number of students. State and federal aid allocated to the respective municipality rolls up to the regional school district will be credited towards that municipalities share of the educational costs.

7. Regional finance committee (Section 14, Subsection (c)) would consist of a seven members appointed by the respective City and Town councils. The City and Town manager have a designee on the committee. The joint finance committee is responsible for reviewing and approving the budget of the regional school district. The municipality that does not govern the regional school district through majority membership will have the right to appoint the 4th member to this committee.

8. Last sentence the ballot question (Section 21) allows for later submission of the question to the Secretary of State’s office which allows for additional time for consideration of the submission.