Header, the Administration of the Honorable Lincoln C. Almond
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Executive Order 99-11
November 4, 1999


WHEREAS, Rhode Island has a history of strong investment in its elementary and secondary schools; and

WHEREAS, according to national data (1997), Rhode Island's per pupil expenditures are among the highest in the country; and

WHEREAS, the State has increased funding for elementary and secondary education aid by over $130 million over the last five years at a race exceeding five percent annually; and

WHEREAS, for the current fiscal year, the State's total investment in elementary and secondary education will be $582.9 million, including construction aid and pension contributions; and

WHEREAS, in 1996, the Rhode Island Goals 2000 Panel issued a comprehensive education strategy report entitled, "All Kids, All Schools," which called for high Standards, student assessments/ accountability, and community support; and

WHEREAS, in 1997, the General Assembly enacted Article 31 of the FY 1998 Appropriations Act, which set forth a comprehensive education strategy of high standards,assessments, and state investments linked to student performance; and

WHEREAS, Article 31 also abandoned the prior education aid formula and distributed additional state aid on an annual basis; and

WHEREAS, urban schools face special challenges with growing school populations, poverty, increasing numbers of non-Engiish speaking students, and a stagnant property tax base; and

WHEREAS, there is increasing demand from urban and suburban school districts for additional resources for education.

NOW, THEREFORE, by virtue of the power vested in me as Governor of the State of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations, do hereby order as follows:

I. There is hereby created a Governor's Task Force on Elementary and Secondary Education Finance to study the current state of financing elementary and secondary education in Rhode Island, including educational expenditures, the sources of revenues for such expenditures, and the allocation of educational aid to each community.

II. The Task. Force shall formulate recommendations to establish a coherent, equitable, adequate and affordable system of financing our elementary and secondary schools.

III. The Task Force shall develop its recommendations consistent with the objective of high achievement for all schools and all students as set forth in Rhode Island's comprehensive education strategy, and within the context of other state needs, including higher education, transportation, and human services programs.

IV. The Task Force shall consist of fifteen (I5) members appointed by the Governor as follows:

1. The Governor's Chief of Staff, who shall serve as Chair;

2. Two (2) members of the Rhode Island House of Representatives, consisting of one (1) member of the majority and one (1) member of the minority;

3. Two (2) members of the Rhode Island Senate, consisting of one (1) member of the majority and one (1) member of the minority;

4. The Commissioner of Elementary and Secondary Education;

5. The Director of the Department of Administration or his designee;

6. A representative of the Rhode Island League of Cities and Towns;

7. A representative of the Rhode Island Association of School Committees;

8. A representative of the Rhode Island Association of School Administrators;

9. The Superintendent of the Providence Public Schools;

10. A representative of the Rhode Island Federation of Teachers;

11. A representative of the National Education Association of Rhode Island;

12. A representative of the Rhode Island Public Expenditure Council; and

13. A member of the public with experience in the area of finance.

V. The Task Force shall present its recommendations to the Governor and to the General Assembly on or before May 31, 2000.

This Executive Order shall take effect immediately and shall expire upon the submission of the Task Force's final report.

So Ordered:

Lincoln Almond