After reading the article “'New Britain Schools Deserve Better' is rallying cry as city leaders defend district, want more funding from city”, I am wondering why it fails to mention the additional $78.3 million the Consolidated School District will be receiving next year? The Democratic Town Committee’s press conference about public school funding conveniently did not address the very public knowledge that the School District will be receiving $23 million in CARES Act funding to be used towards integrating students back into the classroom. It was also announced by our federal delegation that the School District will be receiving an additional lump sum of $55.3 million in American Recovery Act funding to be used at the Board of Education’s discretion. Where is the article regarding how the School District plans to spend these additional resources which could theoretically increase per student expenditures by almost 60%? Is it because there is no plan?
New Britain’s residents are struggling, and the financial and emotional hardships that came along with the pandemic have just exacerbated these challenges. Now is not the time to raise taxes for families who already may not know how to make ends meet to fund a School District that will receive an additional $78.3 million in financial help from the federal government. Mayor Erin Stewart is making financially sound decisions based in care and compassion for the hard realities she knows so many of us are facing, as she has done since Day One of taking office.
The tired and trite argument that the Consolidated School District of New Britain does not receive enough money is simply not doing it for me. Where are the hard working residents of New Britain who are already facing challenges, including a worldwide pandemic that has severely altered our daily lives, supposed to find the money for the School District that is already receiving a total of $75.3 million in federal assistance?
Like many of us in our day-to-day lives, Mayor Stewart has had to make a do with much less than that from the moment she took office. Mayor Stewart inherited a $30 million operating deficit when she started her first term, but instead of looking to others to fix the City’s financial challenges she rolled up her sleeves, and made the tough, but necessary decisions that lead the City back to eight straight years of balanced budgets, a return to an “A” credit rating, and a commercial grand list that has grown year after year. That was all certainly without over $75 million in extra money from the federal government.
When are the School District administrators going to make the hard decisions to improve their financial challenges instead of simply complaining and continually asking from more money from City residents? I hope the leaders of the School District take Mayor Stewart up on her public offer to use her extremely relevant fiscal management experience to help right this ship that has so clearly veered off course.