We Will Get There!!!

By at September 14, 2017 | 4:00 pm | Print

republican

What is the main factor people used in choosing what city they move to? How good are their schools?

For years, the schools in New Britain were the reason people either didn’t move here or why they moved out. We consistently were rated one of the worst in the state. One of our schools came in last for test scores for the entire state and needed state intervention. Superintendent after superintendent came in promising change, and all failed. A study done showed that so many programs were running while the overlap hurt results. The city couldn’t afford to pump anymore funds into our schools and the state kept reducing their share.

That was then.

Over the last few years, a new Mayor and Superintendent came on board. Over the last 10 years, 3 schools that were falling apart were rebuilt literally from the ground up. While the

state reimburses the city 80 percent of the costs, the city must front that money. Smalley School, which is about to undergo reconstruction, will be a model facility when done.

Programs are also outstanding in our schools. At Slade, James Bechard led the school to a national robotics competition and was invited to the White House as an outstanding technology teacher. My nephew, an outstanding artist, dreams of being an animator or cartoonist. In addition to art classes he’s taken in New Britain schools, he is taking classes at New Britain High School in video production and sound effects. The high school’s annual performances are of professional quality.

The school that needed state intervention, Diloreto, has thrived under its new administration. I spent many days there as a substitute teacher last year and was impressed.

For the 2nd year in a row, New Britain was rated an All-American City. The quality of our schools was a factor in the decision.

Yes, for many years education was flat funded. Unfortunately, the city can’t afford to give more. Our tax base is growing, but we can only afford to give so much. The state has been reducing our share of the Education Cost Sharing grant for years, while other cities get more. If New Britain got as much per pupil as Hartford does, we could get millions more. The Stewart Administration is part of a class action lawsuit trying to prove that the formulas that the state uses for funding is unfair.

Money isn’t enough. Parents need to be involved in their child’s education. Do they read to their child every night? Do they participate is parent activities at the school? Language is not an issue because translators are usually available at all our schools.

Businesses need to get involved too. Do you have equipment you don’t need anymore? Donate it. Do any of your employees specialize in a field? Mentor a student.

It took many years for our schools to get where they are now. Improvements are happening. We will get there.

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