(a) The entire care, control, and management of all public school interests of the several cities and towns shall be vested in the school committees of the several cities and towns. School committees shall have, in addition to those enumerated in this title, the following powers and duties:

Terms Used In Rhode Island General Laws 16-2-9

  • Advice and consent: Under the Constitution, presidential nominations for executive and judicial posts take effect only when confirmed by the Senate, and international treaties become effective only when the Senate approves them by a two-thirds vote.
  • Contract: A legal written agreement that becomes binding when signed.
  • Discovery: Lawyers' examination, before trial, of facts and documents in possession of the opponents to help the lawyers prepare for trial.
  • Fiscal year: The fiscal year is the accounting period for the government. For the federal government, this begins on October 1 and ends on September 30. The fiscal year is designated by the calendar year in which it ends; for example, fiscal year 2006 begins on October 1, 2005 and ends on September 30, 2006.
  • Obligation: An order placed, contract awarded, service received, or similar transaction during a given period that will require payments during the same or a future period.
  • person: extends to and includes co-partnerships and bodies corporate and politic. See Rhode Island General Laws 43-3-6.
  • Statute: A law passed by a legislature.
  • town: may be construed to include city; the words "town council" include city council; the words "town clerk" include city clerk; the words "ward clerk" include clerk of election district; the words "town treasurer" include city treasurer; and the words "town sergeant" include city sergeant. See Rhode Island General Laws 43-3-9.
  • town council: include city council; the words "town clerk" include city clerk; the words "ward clerk" include clerk of election district; the words "town treasurer" include city treasurer; and the words "town sergeant" include city sergeant. See Rhode Island General Laws 43-3-9.

(1) To identify educational needs in the community.

(2) To develop education policies to meet the needs of the community.

(3) To provide for and assure the implementation of federal and state laws, the regulations of the board of regents for elementary and secondary education, and of local school policies, programs, and directives.

(4) To provide for the evaluation of the performance of the school system.

(5) To have responsibility for the care and control of local schools.

(6) To have overall policy responsibility for the employment and discipline of school department personnel.

(7) To approve a master plan defining goals and objectives of the school system. These goals and objectives shall be expressed in terms of what men and women should know and be able to do as a result of their educational experience. The committee shall periodically evaluate the efforts and results of education in light of these objectives.

(8) To provide for the location, care, control, and management of school facilities and equipment.

(9) To adopt a school budget to submit to the local appropriating authority.

(10) To adopt any changes in the school budget during the course of the school year.

(11) To approve expenditures in the absence of a budget, consistent with state law.

(12) To employ a superintendent of schools and assign any compensation and other terms and conditions as the school committee and superintendent shall agree, provided that in no event shall the term of employment of the superintendent exceed three (3) years. Nothing contained in this chapter shall be construed as invalidating or impairing a contract of a school committee with a school superintendent in force on May 12, 1978.

(13) To give advice and consent on the appointment by the superintendent of all school department personnel.

(14) To establish minimum standards for personnel, to adopt personnel policies, and to approve a table of organization.

(15) To establish standards for the evaluation of personnel.

(16) To establish standards for conduct in the schools and for disciplinary actions.

(17) To hear appeals from disciplinary actions.

(18) To enter into contracts; provided, however, that notwithstanding any other provision of the general or public laws, whether of specific or general application, and notwithstanding the provisions of any charter of any municipality where the school committee is appointed and not elected, but not including, the Central Falls school district board of trustees established by § 16-2-34, the power and duty to enter into collective bargaining agreements shall be vested in the chief executive officer of the municipality and not in the school committee.

(19) To publish policy manuals which shall include all school committee policies.

(20) To establish policies governing curriculum, courses of instruction, and text books.

(21) To provide for transportation services which meet or exceed standards of the board of regents for elementary and secondary education.

(22) To make any reports to the department of education as are required by the board of regents for elementary and secondary education.

(23) To delegate, consistent with law, any responsibilities to the superintendent as the committee may deem appropriate.

(24) To address the health and wellness of students and employees.

(25) To establish a subcommittee of the school board or committee to decrease obesity and address school health and wellness policies for students and employees consistent with § 16-21-28.

(26) To annually undertake a minimum of six (6) hours of professional development as set forth and described in § 16-2-5.1.

(b) Nothing in this section shall be deemed to limit or interfere with the rights of teachers and other school employees to collectively bargain pursuant to chapters 9.3 and 9.4 of title 28 or to allow any school committee to abrogate any agreement reached by collective bargaining.

(c) The elected school committees of each city, town, or regional school district, or the chief executive officer of any municipality having an appointed school committee, shall have the power to bind their successors and successor committees by entering into contracts of employment in the exercise of their governmental functions.

(d) Notwithstanding any provisions of the general laws to the contrary, the requirement defined in subsections (d) through (f) of this section shall apply. The school committee of each school district shall be responsible for maintaining a school budget which does not result in a debt.

(e) The school committee shall, within thirty (30) days after the close of the first and second quarters of the state’s fiscal year, adopt a budget as may be necessary to enable it to operate without incurring a debt, as described in subsection (d).

(f) In the event that any obligation, encumbrance, or expenditure by a superintendent of schools or a school committee is in excess of the amount budgeted or that any revenue is less than the amount budgeted, the school committee shall within five (5) working days of its discovery of potential or actual over expenditure or revenue deficiency submit a written statement of the amount of and cause for the over obligation or over expenditure or revenue deficiency to the city or town council president and any other person who by local charter or statute serves as the city or town’s executive officer; the statement shall further include a statement of the school committee’s plan for corrective actions necessary to meet the requirements of subsection (d). The plan shall be approved by the auditor general and also submitted to the division of municipal finance.

(g) Notwithstanding any other provision of law, whether of general or specific application, and notwithstanding any contrary provision of any city or town charter or ordinance, the elected school committee of any city, town and regional school district shall be, and is hereby authorized to retain the services of such independent legal counsel as it may deem necessary and convenient. Any counsel so retained shall be compensated out of funds duly appropriated to the school committee, and in no event shall the independent counsel be deemed to be an employee of the pertinent city or town for any purpose.

History of Section.
(G.L. 1896, ch. 54, § 8; P.L. 1902, ch. 989, § 1; G.L. 1909, ch. 66, § 5; P.L. 1913, ch. 946, § 1; G.L. 1923, ch. 70, § 4; G.L. 1938, ch. 178, § 4; G.L. 1956, § 16-2-9; P.L. 1978, ch. 295, § 1; P.L. 1988, ch. 336, § 1; P.L. 1991, ch. 44, art. 44, § 1; P.L. 2005, ch. 74, § 1; P.L. 2005, ch. 76, § 1; P.L. 2007, ch. 303, § 1; P.L. 2007, ch. 335, § 1; P.L. 2007, ch. 413, § 1; P.L. 2010, ch. 299, § 1; P.L. 2011, ch. 151, art. 12, § 18; P.L. 2011, ch. 265, § 1.)