Town Committee Meeting Thursday 2/28: School Funding Reform On Tap
Dianne Kaplan DeVries, the project director for the CT Coalition for Justice in Education Funding, will be the guest speaker at the February 28th meeting of the Democratic Town Committee – Thursday, February 28th, 7 p.m. at New Britain City Hall, 27 West Main Street, Room 504.
The Coalition, in a pending Supreme Court case filed in 2008, seeks equity in school funding and is challenging the reliance on the property tax to pay for K-12 education.
The February meeting on education and school funding is the first in a series of meetings to be held in the run up to endorsements of candidates in July. In March the Town Committee will discuss code enforcement, anti-blight policy and neighborhood revitalization. In April the topic will be jobs and economic development.
All are welcome to attend the meeting.
Candidate Nominations Committee To Be Formed In March For City Offices
In July the Democratic Town Committee will endorse candidates for Mayor, Tax Collector, Town and City Clerk, City Treasurer, Common Council [Districts (10) and At Large(5)], Board of Education (3), Board of Assessment Appeals (2) and Constable (4).
The nominations committee will consider all candidacies, draft a party platform and make recommendations to the Town Committee as part of the endorsement process. The Town Committee endorsement meeting will be held on July 18th.
Additional information is available at www.newbritaindemocrat.org
2013 Political Calender
- Party endorsements: July 16-23, 2013: The Town Committee will meet on July 18th
- Certification of endorsements: July 24, 2013
- Primary and nominating petitions filed by: August 7, 2013
- Primary (6:00 a.m. — 8:00 p.m.): September 10, 2013 (if necessary)
- Election Day: November 5, 2013
Town Committee Meeting Dates – Regular meetings will be held on Thursdays, 7 p.m. Meeting dates include February 28, March 28, April 25, June 27, July 18 (Municipal Endorsement Meeting), August 29, September 26, October 24, November 21, December 19.
Back To the Future? Neighborhood School Plan Gets Hearing, Monday 2/25
From NB Politicus Post
New Britain’s “Move to Neighborhood Schools” will be the focus of a Monday, February 25th Board of Education meeting when board members will review a plan by Supt, Kelt Cooper that calls for all students attending classes in schools and programs outside of their neighborhood district in 2012-2013 to attend a neighborhood school in 2013-2014.
The Monday 2/25 public meeting begins at 6 p.m. at New Britain High School’s Tercyak Lecture Hall on Mill Street with a presentation on the neighborhood plan and two hours set aside for public comment. According to BOE President Sharon Beloin-Saavedra a final plan for a neighborhood schools’ strategy will be voted on by the board in March.
The BOE faces a lengthy agenda because of storm cancellations earlier in the month. It will also take up inclusion of the DiLoreto School in the State Commissioner of Education’s “network” schools — a decision expected to bring additional funds into Slater Road school to improve the school district’s low achievement scores.
Over the last decade or so the school district established specialized programs or magnets with learning communities and supports as choices for families (available via lottery) across the city with the intent of developing models for higher student achievement. The neighborhood school proposal notes that “while most students attending these select programs attained high levels of academic achievement, the strategy did not increase overall school district performance.” The administration said the citywide academies “created another unintended issue: that of filling schools with non-neighborhood children. This necessitated the busing of neighborhood students to other buildings to accommodate any incoming population.”
Cooper is proposing that 2013-2014 be a year of transition with four steps: 1)Students newly registered to the district are placed in his/her neighborhood school based on classroom space; 2) the elimination of Out of District (OOD) or “non-neighborhood school” requests by parents or guardians; 3) the re-zoning of school district lines based on population; 4) adoption of neighborhood schools for all students in the 2013-2014 school year identified as “Plan A.” by the school administration.
BOE members are reviewing Cooper’s proposal that also identifies two alternate plans for moving to a neighborhood school strategy.
“Plan B” allows students located in a school outside of their district to be “grandfathered” into the school outside of the neighborhood district with certain conditions. The student would first be placed in a neighborhood school in September 2013 for the first three weeks and then, — if space is available — the student could return to the OOD school of choice for the remainder of the year. Parent or guardians, however, would be required to provide transportation since busing to non-neighborhood schools will be eliminated. “Plan C” allows for “grandfathering” of students in the non-neighborhood schools of choice in 2013-2014 in grades 5 and 8 only.
Supt. Cooper prefers Plan A stating that it “would be the most efficient means to return to neighborhood schools. It is one which would probably be the most cost-effective regarding the budget.”
For implementation to neighborhood only schools (special education is exempt from the plan) the school administration will need to re-draw the city’s education map with new district lines. “The ground work has begun in the mapping identification of students at schools for the current year. This process clearly shows that students in each school are scattered throughout the city, which requires busing to all schools,” Cooper stated in a February 7th proposal. “The second process involves the mapping of former neighborhood school district lines from the mid 1990s with the overlay of our current student population to identify the numbers of students at each school based on the former neighborhood lines. In some cases the population has shifted away from a few neighborhoods and significantly increased in other neighborhoods.”
The neighborhood schools’ plan seeks to “establish the framework for equitable distribution of district resources based on the needs of the neighborhood school.” School administrators acknowledge “the movement of district lines is a significant event in our community but it is essential to regain a sense of school community in neighborhoods.”
To counteract parent concerns about the loss of learning communities (LCs) that have improved student performance in the academies, school officials are pledging that “the best practices we have learned to be effective through out smaller learning communities will be implemented district-wide for all students in all schools.”
The neighborhood school proposal identifies a potential saving of $78,200 for each bus taken out of service in 2013-2014. Those funds presumably could be applied to school budgets on a neighborhood basis, but the total amount of savings from transportation for the district was not estimated.
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