The NB Journal has become aware of an email that Superintendent Sarra has distributed to her employees of a video posted on Facebook by political activist Kristianna Smith. This video discusses the potential ordinance change submitted by two Common Council members. The subject of Sarra’s email is “Know the Facts” and in the body of the email she mentions it “provides context to struggles as of late.” The NB Journal would like to further clarify some of this “context” that is omitted in this video.
Initially, the creator of the video discusses the per pupil education funding in the City and mentions that New Britain appropriates a lower amount than other cities in the state such as Danbury, Hartford, and Bridgeport. Based off of 2018-2019 data, the most recent data the state of Connecticut provides, this information is inaccurate. Danbury is behind New Britain in per pupil funding and although Hartford and Bridgeport receive significantly more from the state in educational funding, they both contribute less municipal dollars than we do. New Britain spends $238 and $1166 more in municipal money per student than Hartford and Bridgeport, respectively.
Next, the NB Journal would like to call attention to the mischaracterization and derogatory nature in which the members of the School Building Committee were portrayed. This video insinuated that these City residents freely spend money and are not looking out for the best interest of the tax payers. This is a bold claim, as School Construction Projects have historically come in under budget. Suggesting otherwise, and making false claims of budget misappropriations and the potential for future corruptions are simply inaccurate and purposely misleading.
Finally, it is important that the NB Journal address the overtly partisan tone and unprofessional nature of the video as a whole. The portrayal of the Office of the Mayor as a figurehead wearing a crown and the prevalent use of profane acronyms is in extremely poor taste. We realize that the Superintendent’s office did not create the video, but her purposeful distribution of it amongst her staff, does nothing to help build the bridge to better communication between the BOE and City Hall.
From our understanding, the Mayor’s office has worked diligently with the Common Council, BOE, School Building Committee, and the CSDNB administration since the onset of this project. Since its inception, the Chamberlain project was put at the top of Mayor Stewart’s priority list, and was its funding was approved by the Common Council expeditiously. Additionally, from information that we’ve collected, when the project was held up due to an ongoing dispute between the BOE and School Building Committee, it was the direct intervention from the Mayor’s office that helped these two bodies come to a resolution, ending the standstill of the renovation of Chamberlain.
In our opinion, Superintendent Sarra owes us the entire City an apology for her lack of professionalism and purposeful misrepresentation of facts.