Center introduces RI-DIMES fiscal modeling tool

Center introduces RI-DIMES fiscal modeling tool

Says Pawtucket students and schools would win

PROVIDENCE - As part of the recently launched Bright Today Educational Choice campaign, the nonpartisan Rhode Island Center for Freedom & Prosperity has developed the Rhode Island District Impact Model for Educational Scholarships - RI-DIMES - which can project the statewide and district-by-district fiscal impact of the proposed Bright Today Scholarship program.

RI-DIMES is a financial modeling tool that will estimate the revenue effect of specific school choice policies. Taking into account the unique demographics of each district - resident income breakdowns, district financials based on the state funding formula, student data, etc. - along with the income-adjusted award schedules of the Bright Today Scholarship Program, a projected participation rate and financial impact can be calculated for each district.

Under the Bright Today Scholarship program being considered in the Rhode Island General Assembly, public schools will be relieved of the associated per-student cost burden when parents choose to send their children to private schools, according to a news release.

For the Pawtucket school district, RI-DIMES estimates the core scholarship program to produce a net fiscal impact of $690,462 under the "core scenario" with 9,073 public school students who could choose to receive scholarships. With an estimated 258 students projected to participate, that will lead to an increase of $149 in spending per pupil for those public remaining in public schools,

"Bright Today educational scholarships are a win-win-win situation," said Mike Stenhouse, CEO of the center. "Students and families win, taxpayers win, and even school districts win."

The center is part of a growing coalition, currently comprised of the national Friedman Foundation for Educational Choice, as well as number of in-state advocacy groups including Rhode Island Families for School Choice. Bipartisan school choice legislation is sponsored by state Reps. Ray Hull and Mike Chippendale, and state Sens. Marc Cote and Nicholas Kettle.

Parents or others wishing to stay informed about or become involved with the campaign should register at the Rhode Island Families or School Choice website, EdChoiceRI.org. The center has also set up an educational choice home page on its website, at RIFreedom.org/EdChoiceRI .