School systems vie for Powerball tax money

Posted 3/15/12

PROVIDENCE – In a letter to Gov. Lincoln D. Chafee, Timothy C. Duffy – executive director of the Rhode Island Association of School Committees – said the $17.3 million in income tax revenue from Rhode Island’s two recent Powerball winners should be used to upgrade technology the public school systems.

Chafee already has indicated that he does not want the $17.3 million influx dedicated to the budget deficit, said Duffy.

The letter, dated Monday, March 12, suggests that the state use money to supplant the $20 million in revenue bonds proposed to upgrade technology in public schools and provide wireless Internet access to classrooms.

“Since the wireless classroom initiative is a dedicated expenditure for a specific purpose, it would not obligate the state to provide funding annually,” said Duffy, adding that using the income tax revenue could save the state an estimated $7 million in interest payments.

Duffy proposed that the state bond the remaining $2.7 million required for the technology upgrade or annually appropriate $270,000 over the next 10 years.

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