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State, local leaders to call for more funding for New Britain public schools following mayor's address

Mayor Stewart's State of the City address last week discussed the public school system and lack of quality education in the city.

NEW BRITAIN, Conn. — New Britain’s Board of Education speaking out in response to Mayor Erin Stewart’s State of the City Address. In the address last week, Mayor Erin Stewart said at her address, "I’m calling on the Board of Education and leaders within the school district to make the difficult and meaningful changes necessary to improve the quality of the education occurring within the walls of our public schools. The statistics do not lie. Because dead last does not cut it in New Britain”.

These remarks sparked controversy among parents, teachers and members of the New Britain Board of Education. Democratic State Representative Bobby Sanchez said “It is simply and ethically wrong to blame this on our hard-working teachers and educational staff”.

On Thursday afternoon, Superintendent Sarra announced that schools will be reopening in early May.

Deanna Riccardo, a 22-year teacher with New Britain schools said “We all work our tails off and the funding is necessary to support what we do for teaching”.

Board of Education members said that they city of New Britain is allocating $4,000 less per child than districts in surrounding areas. New Britain is ranked the second worst in the state for per-student funding.

Elected Member of the Board of Education, Dr. Violet Jimenez Sims stated “We have been in this place we are in for quite some time, and there is absolutely a correlation between the funding and the services that we can offer”.

The New Britain School System hasn’t seen an increase in funding over the last 5 years, and it’s become more and more difficult for educators to continue to give quality resources and education without proper funding. “There is really good work going on in this district under really challenging situations” said President of the Board of Education, Merrill Gay.

The City of New Britain adopted a Comprehensive Whole Child Instruction Model to help children learn and grow, given difficult life circumstances including food insecurity, homelessness and language barriers. This model helps these children, but comes with a higher price tag, says Sal Escobales, President of the New Britain Federation of Teachers.

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