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Philos, Bridgeport budget woes, and missing charter funding

This weekly segment by Democrats for Education Reform CT looks at the top education stories Democrats are watching, providing bite-sized analysis and links to recent articles. On the roster this week: Our annual Philos event, Bridgeport budget woes, and charters left out of the biennial budget.

Looking Forward to Philos in September

Philos--an annual convening hosted by our affiliate organization, Education Reform Now--is a chance for prominent policymakers, education advocates, and thought leaders from across America to discuss efforts to improve public education. Previous years have featured US Secretaries of Education, Governor Malloy, US Senators including Chris Murphy and Michael Bennett, and our very own CT Senate Majority Leader Bob Duff and Education Chair Douglas McCrory. Philos 2019 will take place in September in Washington, DC. It’s an invitation only event, and they go out later in the week, so contact Amy if you’re looking for a details:

Record Attendance on Bridgeport School Budget

In the face of projected budget deficits and the departure of Bridgeport's superintendent, the district's BOE meeting last week had record attendance. On Monday, the school board reviewed potential cuts to offset a $6.5 million gap in the district’s operating budget, but some board members advocated for refusing further budget cuts--instead suggesting that the district run a deficit and turn to the state for help. (In the 2017-18 school year, Bridgeport's per pupil spending was $14,241--as compared to other urban districts like Hartford ($19,616), New Haven ($18,381) and Waterbury ($15,547).) Amidst the budget turmoil, the school board is also searching for a new interim and permanent superintendent of schools. Current Superintendent Aresta Johnson announced in April that she would be leaving at the end of July. News broke today that she will become the director of K-12 strategic initiatives at the UB School of Education in August.

Left Out of the Biennial Budget

In October 2018, the State Board of Education approved the opening of two new charter schools, one in Norwalk and one in Danbury. The Norwalk Charter School for Excellence, serving PreK-5, and the Danbury Prospect School, serving grades 6-12 through an International Baccalaureate program, were originally slated to open next month. But the biennial budget this year excluded funding for the two schools, despite a significant rise in enrollment in Danbury and capacity issues.


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