Don’t Cut Charter School Funding

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Highville Charter School students walk through the building to return to class.

File photo

As a member of the community and Executive Director of Highville Charter School, I am extremely unhappy with the budget adjustments proposed by Governor Lamont, who recommend a reduction of $674,000 from the charter post. At a time when our state is in excellent financial shape, it is disconcerting that the Lamont administration would suggest cutting funding for our schools, not increasing it. If passed, this proposal would harm public charter schools and the students they serve. So I am led to share an answer.

I was born and raised in New Haven, and am entering my 40th year of college. Working for the children of Elm City is a job of the heart; however, it is extremely discouraging to see the Governor sideline the needs of our students by proposing cuts to the charter post, especially considering that our state’s public charter schools remain the most underfunded by our state.

Charter schools were founded to give our parents a choice, but they seem to be penalized for that choice. At a time when we emphasize the importance of equity, students in charter schools are not getting it. Two children could live in the same house, one going to a traditional public school and the other to a public charter school, and be funded at entirely different per-pupil rates, simply because of the type of public school that they frequent.

Our state’s public charter schools are already chronically underfunded. We have to spin gold out of straw. Given this, it is not encouraging to hear of continued cuts, especially when they affect our most vulnerable students. Despite the relentless challenges we face due to funding cuts, there is no decline in the standards of expectation we must meet, nor am I suggesting that there should be. However, our fight should be for the recovery of the learning loss that our children have suffered and not for the redundant fight of having to obtain appropriate and equitable funding.

We hope and wish that every charter school – and I can particularly speak for mine – can provide excellence and education for our children, but to do this we must have sustainable funding that we can plan with. to use and plan to grow. It is extremely difficult to plan permanent change in a constant state of flux.

I hope Governor Lamont reconsiders his proposed budget, realizes that equity is more than just a buzzword, and is encouraged to provide equitable access to funding for all of our students.



Janet Brown-Clayton is Executive Director of Highville Charter School.

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