Parents react as RIDE considers allowing students to switch districts

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WLNE) — Susan Mello has a 13-year-old son with special needs, but she’s not happy with Newport’s reopening plan right now, which she says does not provide enough in-person instruction for him.

“Zoom does not work well for my kid. So what’s the other alternative?” she said. “This is not my fault. You’re the ones that came up with the game plan, and expect us to get on the bus with your idea. And I’m not. That’s not working for me or my kid.”

Education Commissioner Angelica Infante-Green is suggesting that RIDE is looking into the possibility of allowing parents to switch district based on their reopening plans.

It’s an idea Mello likes.

“Everybody across the board should be able to choose where their kid is going to go, and should be able to do something safely,” she said.

Dr. Thomas DiPaola, the head of the Rhode Island School Superintendents Association, says parents have already had that choice when it comes to career and tech programs.

“The superintendents want to support that,” he said. “The issue we have with that kind of program or school choice is simply the way it’s funded.”

In other words, the student’s home district would have to pay for education in the new district.

Another concern is transporting the student to the new district, which could be far away.

“I know I don’t want him on the bus for that long,” Mello said.

Parent Kristi Kasper of Cranston is wondering if it’s fair to the new district — especially if it has a popular reopening plan.

“What if you have three thousand people who all want to send their kids to one school?” she said. “So in theory, I think it would be great. I don’t know how practical it is.”

Categories: Coronavirus, News, Rhode Island