State to Bridgeport: Check is still not in the mail

HARTFORD — The state Department of Education on Tuesday agreed to released promised Educational Cost Sharing dollars to two more Alliance Districts. Once again, Bridgeport wasn’t on the list.

 This time it was Middletown and Norwich, bringing to 28 out of 30 districts to get funds that are supposed tobe used to increase student achievement. Middletown will get $796,637 and Norwich, just over $1 million. The state listed a bunch of initiatives each will start with the money.

In reality, if they are like Bridgeport, the funds are already budgeted and expected in order to finish the year in the black. In the case of Bridgeport, the $4.4 million that represents the district’s “alliance” grant is a big red mark in the teacher salary account line of the district’s quarterly report. Regardless of what the city school district promises the state in what will no doubt be an inch-thick “plan,” the funding will go to pay for teachers, who are already in the classroom.

City school officials aren’t quite sure what the hold up is in releasing the funds. Bridgeport was one of the first districts to submit a plan to the state and according to Sandy Kase, chief administrative officer for the district, the tweeks have been minor. Essentially, the plan will replace the federal No Child Left Behind effort to make sure all students learn. There will be achievement targets and promises made about how much the district will improve student attendance, the graduation rate and lower student suspensions.

 An Alliance report update is on the school board’s agenda for Monday.

Linda Lambeck