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Senate bill would delay parts of state education merger until September

January 2, 2013

A bill introduced Wednesday by state Senator Hanna Gallo would delay until September 1 the “final plan for the permanent administrative structure” for the controversial combined state Board of Education.

In a signal of a green light for the bill, cosponsors include Senate President Teresa Paiva Weed and Majority Leader Dominick Ruggerio.

As previously reported, Gallo’s bill would delay until March 7  the creation of a comined education board.  But  her legislation pushes back the finalization of the administrative structure, as well as the deadline for the first report on the implementation of the merger, until September 1.  

The merger of boards for K-12 and public higher education was approved with little notice as part of the budget debate in the House last June. Lorne Adrain, the outgoing chair of the Board of Governors for Higher Education, in an interview with RIPR, characterized the process as typical of pre-democratic societies.

On the Friday before Christmas, the Chafee administration issued a news release indicating George Caruolo had asked to take his name out of consideration as the chair of the combined education board. Caruolo was named as the chairman of the merged education board in November.

Proponents of the merger, including House Finance chairman Helio Melo, describe it as a necessary part of trying to improve public education Rhode Island.

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