City school board wants state charter school moratorium

boeBRIDGEPORT – The city school board voted 6-to-2 Monday to tell the state they have too much on their plate right now to weigh the merits of any new charter schools wanting to come to town.

The resolution comes as the city prepares to host the first of two public hearings on proposed new charter schools. The first, for Great Oaks, a charter school that would be geared toward English Language Learners, is set for 6 p.m. Wednesday at the Fairchild Wheeler complex. The second, for Capitol Prep Charter, will be Tuesday, March 18, also at 6 p.m. at Fairchild Wheeler. A third charter school applicant was not invited by the state to the interview phase of the project and reportedly has withdrawn, state officials said.

The non-binding local school board action came at the tail end of a meeting that started with a number of speakers – all signed up by Working Families Party Chairwoman Maria Pereira – who spoke against any more charter schools. The city already has four. Several speakers were teachers who said the district sure could use the money the state spends on charter school.

The board did not hear from a number of charter school parents who did not come to the meeting in time to sign up to speak. They said charter schools work and that the alternative is leaving their children in bad schools.

More on all this later today but know that Interim Schools Superintendent Fran Rabinowitz, who worked with charter schools at the state level, said she too has questions about the specific applications being presented for Bridgeport and also worries how the new schools will impact the district budget. Although the state foots the bill for charter schools and holds harmless the district’s state funding there would be additional transportation costs.

As part of the state charter school process, local districts are asked to weigh in on the applications but have no say in where they are put.

Check back later for more.

Linda Lambeck