Letter: School tax district will unify these towns

Posted

To the editor:

The members of the Warren Town Council have, until now, refrained from commenting on the recent Rhode Island Supreme Court decision that reconfirmed their opinion on the intent and purpose of the state funding formula.

That said, Warren's focus is not on additional litigation, rather on finding constructive solutions to fund education in a fair and equitable manner for all. To that end, it is time to have a serious discussion on an  idea I’ve proposed in the past: Create a regional tax district that allows the Bristol Warren Regional School District to levy and collect taxes. If the Bristol Warren Regional School District had the authority to tax, there would be a single unified tax base, and thus, a single unified state aid calculation.

If enacted, this would create the “community” that fits the definition of the state laws governing aid to education.  The Bristol Warren Regional School Committee would present to the voters — NOT the joint finance committee — its budget priorities. This would mean that those elected to guide and oversee the education of our children would have the responsibility and authority to set educational priorities, which is where it should have been all along.

At the time of the signing of the Declaration of Independence, Benjamin Franklin famously remarked that “We must all hang together or surely we shall all hang separately.” He meant that working together assures success, and that is what is needed now for the Bristol Warren Regional School District.  The alternative will benefit no one.

Joseph DePasquale

54 Central Ave.

Mr. DePasquale is president of the Warren Town Council.

Comments

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david swanson

The problem with a school system having taxing authority is it results one town helping to pay the taxes for another town. A fairer way to do this is for the state to base its contributions to towns bases on need. State aid, based on need, should go directly to the general fund of towns and towns should fund the schools based the number of students attending from their town.

Friday, June 16 | Report this
Honoré de Balzac

David Swanson - What you describe is exactly why we're in the current mess. That ship has long since sailed.

Mr. DeP - we don't need another unfairly balanced taxing authority. A school tax district will result in the same unfair tax situation we're in now - Bristol will push the cart, Warren will ride in it. The socioeconomic gap between Bristol and Warren is too big of a hurdle to overcome. Unless and until Warren can pull itself up, deregionalization is the only fair and sensible option. Your choice of Franklin's quote is amusing. It implies that we're "dead men walking" and if that's true, well then as for me, I'd rather we hang separately.

Friday, June 16 | Report this

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