New Britain City Journal

New Britain's Weekly Online Newspaper


Board Of Education, Common Council to Hold Joint Session


In the spirit of collegiality and transparency, the New Britain Board of Education and the Common Council have decided to revive a former practice of holding a joint session to review in detail the Board’s budget request outlining the needs of the school district. Members of both elected bodies expressed a desire for early and honest dialog on the status of education here in New Britain.

Sharon Beloin-Saavedra, Board of Education president, is looking forward to sitting down and reviewing and explaining the budget in further detail with council members.

“I welcome the opportunity to sit down with my colleagues and engage in a meaningful discussion on New Britain’s past, present and future school budget, education offerings and student outcomes and how these three areas are intrinsically interconnected,” said Beloin-Saavedra. “It is important for folks to understand what educational services are provided, why they are provided and at what cost. It is also important for both bodies to understand and respect how one another arrives at their decisions. This is a positive step in establishing a mutual understanding between the two elected bodies and building a pathway forward.”

Jamie Giantonio, President Pro Tempore of the Common Council is looking forward to the discussions.

“The Board of Education budget comprises over 50 percent of the city budget. We are interested in discussing how to balance the district’s request and the cost to the city taxpayers, while ensuring we are living within our means. In addition, I look forward to hearing what cost cutting mechanism have been planned or put in place, and how we can work with our state delegation to address the district’s needs. I think it’s important for the Council, especially with six new members, to gain some insight into the Board’s budget process and priorities. I hope we can discuss reviving the Blue Ribbon Committee as well. I envision an open, honest discussion that fosters transparency, collaboration and accountability between these two groups.”

The joint session is scheduled for March 22 at 6:30 p.m. in the council chambers at City Hall. There will be a public participation session at the beginning of the meeting, which will then be followed by the Board of Education budget presentation and discussion. The Common Council will be holding their own Public Hearing on the City Budget at a later date, which is still being finalized.