Malloy Calls For $14.1 Million More To Turn Around Low-Performing Schools
Could Add Six More Schools To Program; Total Funding Would Be $27.5 Million
By KATHLEEN MEGAN
February 01, 2013
Despite the state's fiscal troubles, Gov. Dannel P. Malloy demonstrated his continuing support for education reform Friday, proposing $14.1 million more over the next two years to help turn around low-performing schools.
The increase would bring the total funding to $27.5 million and would be enough to at least double the number of participating schools. Currently there are four.
Advocates for educational reform said they were pleased to see Malloy's support for a program that legislators cut by $2 million in December to help address the deficit.
"We were concerned when we saw the deficit mitigation plan because nearly half of the cuts were to key pieces of last year's reform. And we know going into this legislative session that given the state's fiscal situation, tough choices will have to be made," said Jennifer Alexander, acting chief executive officer of ConnCAN, a New Haven-based education advocacy group.
Alexander said she feared that the cuts might be a "sign of what's to come." But Friday's announcement appeared to be a "sign of good news," she said.
The increased investment would cover the cost of adding about five or six more schools to a "Commissioner's Network" of schools targeted for turnaround. Each school would qualify for about $750,000 to be used to develop programs that will help students in troubled schools perform at a higher level and close the achievement gaps through measures that include lengthening the school day, adding after-school programs or other methods for enhancing student performance.
Six schools from five districts have been invited to develop turnaround plans: Richard C. Briggs High School in Norwalk; Crosby High School in Waterbury; DiLoreto Magnet Elementary School in New Britain; P.L. Dunbar School in Bridgeport; Walsh Elementary School in Waterbury; and Windham Middle School in Windham.
The New Haven district has also indicated an interest in submitting schools for consideration.
Education Commissioner Stefan Pryor said state officials will review and select schools by summer. Those chosen will join the schools already in the program -- Bridgeport's Curiale School, Hartford's Core Knowledge Academy at Milner School, New Haven's High School in the Community, and Norwich's Stanton School.
Pryor said it's too soon to say whether the turnaround efforts have yielded results at those four schools, but there have been "signs of hope and progress" noted by audit teams that have visited the schools.
Reprinted with permission of the Hartford Courant.
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