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Board of Ed Cancels New School Opening

By Hartford Courant

June 17, 2009

The board of education Tuesday night canceled the August opening of a new academy in order to save $900,000, part of a $3 million budget cut mandated by the city council.

The Young Men's Leadership Academy, which was slated to open in August with 200 students, was going to be the first of two single-gender academies in the city for students in grades 6 through 12.

The 6-1 decision by the board not to open the school in August "will have long-term repercussions," said Ada Miranda, board chairwoman.

The city council has asked to board to cut $3 million from the district's 2009-2010 proposed budget. The remaining $2.1 million cut will come from a $1.4 million across-the-board reduction in individual school budgets and a $700,000 reduction in central services, according to David Medina, district spokesman.

The school district has already eliminated 230 positions, among them 99 teachers and 48 central office employees.

Miranda said she was dismayed that the council chose to cut the budget at time when the school system is seeing increases in standardized test scores and interest among suburban parents in enrolling their children in Hartford schools.

"Our goal is ... to become a viable option for high-quality education," Miranda said.

The Young Men's Leadership Academy, at 875 Asylum Ave., was to be one of five new additions to the district's themed schools this fall. The others are:

The Journalism and Media Academy, a school for grades 9 to 12, focusing on print and electronic media, slated to open in Weaver High School.

OPPortunity High School, a school for grades 9 to 12 that will partner with the nonprofit organization Our Piece of the Pie Inc. The school will focus on students at risk of dropping out of high school.

The Insurance and Finance Academy, a school for insurance and finance for grades 9 to 12.

The Teacher Preparatory Academy,, an academy for grades 11 and 12 at Bulkeley High School to prepare students for college programs in teaching.

Last year, the district opened a Nursing Academy, a Law and Government Academy and an Engineering and Green Technology Academy, all at Hartford Public High School, and a Culinary Arts Academy at Weaver High School.

Reprinted with permission of the CityLine blog of the Hartford Courant. To view other stories on this topic, search the CityLine at http://blogs.courant.com/cityline/ and the Hartford Courant Archives at http://www.courant.com/archives.
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