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New Haven schools get over $208 million, but education advocates say it's not enough

FILE: A protestor holds a sign in support of students in front of Gateway Community College at a march where protesters called for more funding for public schools and higher wages for teachers and paraprofessionals. The protesters marched from the New Haven Board of Education Central Office to City Hall.
Ryan Caron King
/
Connecticut Public
FILE: A protestor holds a sign in support of students in front of Gateway Community College at a march where protesters called for more funding for public schools and higher wages for teachers and paraprofessionals. The protesters marched from the New Haven Board of Education Central Office to City Hall.

New Haven Public Schools will start the new academic year with a little over $208 million as part of the city’s budget.

The Board of Alders voted to approve the budget on Tuesday. Advocates and the school superintendent, Madeline Negron, said the district will soon be faced with tough budget choices.

“We now face a $11.8 million shortfall in our budget for the fiscal year beginning July 1,” Negron said.

The alders voted to add $5 million to the school budget. President of the New Haven Federation of Teachers, Leslie Blattaeu, previously said the district originally wanted $220 million.

The district will consider cost cutting as a result, according to Negron.

“With such a wide gap in funding, unfortunately, all aspects of programming will be considered as part of the budget mitigation,” Negron said. “We have much work to do on behalf of New Haven’s deserving students.”

The result, as Blattaeu said on Friday during a rally at Wilbur Cross High School, would mean less resources to address student needs from mental health resources, to larger class sizes. But Negron also said part of making do with less means reviewing bus routes for cost savings.

Blattaeu said the district needed an extra $9 million to keep up with contractual pay increases, and the school bus contract amount was raised by about $6 million. The schools ended up getting nearly enough to keep up with the pay increases, due to an additional $3.9 million from the state, but Blatteau said the buses are a different matter.

“I'm not sure how the city will pay for buses,” Blatteau said.

While the school leadership and advocates aren’t happy with the budget, Mayor Justin Elicker said the new budget will include money for after school programs.

“An additional $5 million dedicated to our schools will help ensure our children and educators are provided with more resources that they need in the classroom – and an additional $2 million for our Youth@Work program will ensure that every young person who wants an after school or summer job can have one,” Elicker said.

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