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Op-Ed: Not Funding Bridgeport Schools Adequately Is An Injustice

Photo: smithclass.org

Photo: smithclass.org

 

Jorge Cabrera
Bridgeport
 

On June 3rd of this year the Connecticut General Assembly will close the legislative session and hanging in the balance is $5,000,000 in much needed funding for the Bridgeport public schools. Right now, Bridgeport is poised to not receive the much needed funds because the state is proposing to flat fund the district and as a result school administrators will have to cut things like guidance counselors, school building repairs, paraprofessionals and other essential functions.

Not funding the Bridgeport schools adequately is an injustice to the nearly 22,000 students and their families.  Once again, Bridgeport kids are expected to run the race of life barefoot!

The problem of poor funding for Bridgeport schools is well documented.  In fact, as far back as 2005 a study was done that showed that the State of Connecticut has not adequately funded the Bridgeport public schools.  Click here to read the study.  More recently, the State of Connecticut commissioned a task force to examine the state’s funding of public schools and essentially concluded that school districts like Bridgeport are significantly underfunded.  You can read the task force’s final report here.

Need more proof?  According to data obtained from the Connecticut State Department of Education, Bridgeport’s school budget is significantly lower than Hartford and New Haven.  In 2013-14, Hartford spent over $400,000,000 and New Haven spent over $329,000,000 on education. Bridgeport only received $287,000,000.  In addition, Bridgeport receives less per pupil funding when compared to Hartford and New Haven.  Non-local funding per pupil was $14,190 for Hartford, $12,499 for New Haven and only $11,141 for Bridgeport in 2013-14.  Worse yet, compared to Hartford and New Haven Bridgeport has received the least amount of local funding for more than 10 years!

This is simply unacceptable. How can we expect Bridgeport kids to learn if we are not providing them with the resources needed to be successful?

Give the children of Bridgeport a fighting chance to succeed! Restore the $5,000,000 the schools desperately need. It’s the right thing to do and long overdue.

Jorge Cabrera is a Bridgeport public school graduate and public commentator.  He can be reached at JlrCabrera@aol.com

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