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McNamara Field Trip Funding Bill Makes Another Run


[CREDIT: Rob Borkowski] The RI State House.
STATE HOUSE —  Rep. Joseph M. McNamara’s (D-Dist. 19, Warwick, Cranston) bill making it easier for school districts to raise money for field trips and dances passed the RI House of Representatives again this year, on Tuesday.

The legislation is in response to a ruling provided to the East Greenwich School Department April 10, 2019, prohibiting school districts from charging students for field trips organized by the district using district resources and staff time. Fundraising for trips is permitted, so long as individual students don’t have mandated fundraising targets as a requirement for participation. (See the attached letter from RIDE).

At the time, many school districts canceled field trips since state policy was interpreted that no fund raising could be done for such trips either, effectively eliminating such field trips in many places.

This year’s legislation, proposed by McNamara with the support of House leadership, would codify the ability of school districts to request money while establishing that all requests for donations include a written statement that all donations are voluntary, and no student will be denied participation or attendance for failure to donate. No students would be individually identified in regard to the donations.

In the RI Senate, similar field trip funding legislation was proposed in 2020 by  Sen. Hanna M. Gallo (D-Dist. 27, Cranston, West Warwick), which also passed.

McNamara’s measure now moves to the Senate for consideration.


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