BRIDGEPORT – Hoping to combat a threatened lawsuit by the city school board over the plan to put two new charter schools here, a group called Families for Excellent Schools has launched a one-week radio campaign in support of parent choice.
In what is being called the first in a series of radio spots will run in both English and Spanish in support of Great Oaks and Capitol Preparatory Harbor charter schools. Both were approved earlier this month by the state Board of Education.
The approvals came despite a request by the city school board that the state put a moratorium on new charter schools. Bridgeport is already home to four.
“Two new public charter schools are due to open and hundreds of families who’ve been stuck on waiting lists will finally have access to a great neighborhood school,” the ad says. “It’s a new day in Bridgeport.”
Pending approval of a state budget that will fund it, Great Oaks is slated to open in September 2014, and Capitol Preparatory Harbor School the following year.
Last week, the city school board voted to explore its legal options with regard to the state approval against its wishes.
In advance of that possible legal action, Families for Excellent Schools has placed radio ads to highlight parent and community support for the two schools, according to a press release issued on Wednesday.
“We are making our voices heard to support these excellent neighborhood schools,” Linda Francis, a city parent and group organizer. “We cannot go back to business as usual.”
Charter schools are state-funded and run independent of local school board control. Admission into charter schools are free but students generally gain admission through a lottery system.
Families for Excellent reportedly has more than 1,500 members Bridgeport members, according to the organization. The group’s budget comes from foundation and individual donors, according to Patty McQueen, a group spokeswoman said in an email. “FES is no disclosing the amount of the (ads),” she added.