The Senate voted to approve the state budget last night, which means the $250M school construction bond is set to become Question 1 on the November ballot, once the Governor signs the budget. She is expected to do so on Friday.
Last night, the Senate unanimously approved their companion bill to Article 9 of the state budget, which includes incentives for communities to increase their state reimbursement on eligible school construction projects. In addition, they unanimously passed a bill in May that is a companion to Article 5, which deals with the various bond referenda, including the $250M school construction bond.
Senator Ryan Pearson referred to this plan as “a highlight in the budget.” Senate Finance Chairman William Conley remarked, “this is an historic investment in our school facilities that will result in the transformation of classrooms into 21st century learning environments.”
According to a press release received from Erich Haslehurst, Fix Our Schools RI, Director, these votes are the result of a rigorous campaign that included reaching out to school committees and city/town councils, PTAs and PTOs, teachers, students, and school administrators, as well as engaging with members of both the House of Representatives and the Senate to make sure they understood how the plan would work, answer any of their questions, and address any of their concerns.
The Rhode Island House of Representatives also voted unanimously last week to approve both Article 5 and Article 9. State Representative Patricia Serpa, a retired school teacher, said, “People of all ages believe that children deserve safe and modern schools. Cheerful surroundings enhance learning and kids look forward to going to their classrooms every day. I’m proud to support this initiative.”