Providence wants charter schools to help with cost of sports

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – Providence is asking charter schools to step up to cover the cost of school sports.

A spokeswoman for the school department said Monday the city is implementing a policy that will require charter schools to pay approximately $800 per student, per sport, per season for students who play on traditional public school teams because their school does not have a team.

The city said between 50 and 60 charter school students play on Providence school teams during each season. The cost will cover “transportation, coaches’ salaries, referees, equipment, league fees,” according to district spokeswoman Christina O’Reilly.

“No Providence public school students or families are being asked to incur any portion of these costs,” O’Reilly said.

A spokesperson for the Rhode Island League of Charter Schools did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Charter school funding has been a polarizing topic in local politics in recent months, with superintendents and other policymakers complaining that charters receive identical per-pupil financial allocations without any of the legacy costs of the traditional school districts. Charter school supporters say their schools provide valuable alternatives to parents and students.

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Dan McGowan ( dmcgowan@wpri.com ) covers politics, education and the city of Providence for WPRI.com. Follow him on Facebook and Twitter: @danmcgowan

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