New Britain City Journal

New Britain's Weekly Online Newspaper

Commentary

Not So Funny

People in Cities and towns outside New Britain are laughing at us. Why? Because no one has ever heard of, or probably even thought of, the crazy idea of bonding money for books.

Economists have said this is probably one of the worst moves a City can make. Yet, on Monday night it happened.

What is the excuse? That New Britain has been underfunded for years.

School staff has continuously claimed that schools have been flat funded for years, but during an administration, law and finance meeting in May Democratic Alderman Michael Trueworthy admitted that is not true. He said 10 years ago the school board received about $93 million and today the school board gets over $128 million from state and City funds.

That means the school received $35 million more in 2012 than in 2002. So saying the schools are flat funded is pure fabrication.

Could the schools have been better funded? No doubt New Britain schools deserve more funds than it has received. Some of that is definitely the City’s fault and some of it is the responsibility of our state representatives.

But, back to books.

If you look back, the City did give the school board money for new textbooks. The school board chose to use the money in other ways. That is their prerogative.

On Monday night members of the school administration were asked that if they received these funds, wouldn’t they need additional money each year – approximately $100,000 – to keep the books and technology up to date?

Their claim was that they will budget for that.

Will they budget for it the same way they budgeted for books in the past? Won’t this put the schools $100,000 behind somewhere else? How much more will the board of education need next year?

Although the New Britain City Journal supports more funding for schools, we cannot support bonding for books.

The state gave the schools $4.4 million in additional funds this year, while the City gave $200,000 more. (This administration needs to stop taking credit for giving schools $4.6 million, because it is untrue) Couldn’t some of that $4 million have been used for books?

Apparently, there was another line item more important and books are not as critical as they make it seem.

If you believe all this, then what else can you do but chuckle. Why not laugh? Everyone else is.