Field trips canceled as Cumberland Schools search for new funding

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CUMBERLAND, R.I. (WLNE) –The fate of field trips is up in the air at Cumberland Schools. 

Several planned trips for this upcoming school year have been canceled while the district figures out how to pay for them. 

In the past, middle and high school students paid to go on field trips. 

But in April, then Education Commissioner Ken Wagner pointed out a state law that prevents schools from charging students to go on trips organized by the school. 

So now, Cumberland Schools have to find a new source of funding.  

“Our town has thrown away our entire policy and is rewriting it based on this ruling,” said town councilman Robert Shaw.

In the meantime, the district canceled the 7th grade trip to Washington D.C. All students were refunded for the trip.

The high school’s planned trip to Spain and Portugal is also up in the air. 

According to state law, the only way the school can charge the students is if the school gets a third party to organize and insure the trip. 

Four state lawmakers have appealed to the new Education Commissioner, Angelica Infante-Green, asking her to clarify the law. 

A spokesperson with her office tells ABC6 News Infante-Green doesn’t plan on reconsidering the previous commissioner’s interpretation of the law at this time.

 
Cumberland Schools are now looking to its PTO to raise money for field trips. 
 

“We’ll certainly try and do everything we can and at least make a significant difference in the amount of money they’re going to be short,” said incoming PTO president Joe Luca. 

School Committee members said they’re also considering using crowdsourcing websites to raise money.

The committee will discuss other funding ideas at a meeting in two weeks. 

©WLNE-TV / ABC6 2019