Hartford Public School Budget Hearing and Resources 2016-17

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Have a question, comment, or concern about the Hartford Public Schools and City of Hartford (CT) education budget?

Update: On Wednesday, May 4, 2016, there will be a meeting where the City Council and the Hartford Board of Education speak on the proposed budget. (Here are the other meetings for City Council.) The final budget vote will happen on Tuesday, May 17 at 5:30 p.m. at Naylor Elementary School on 639 Franklin Avenue. 

On May 3, 2016, there was a budget hearing for public comment on the Hartford Public Schools recommended budget for the 2016-17 school year. The hearing started at 5:30 p.m. at the M.D. Fox Elementary School at 470 Maple Avenue in the city’s Barry Square/South End neighborhood.

Update: It was a brutal board of education public hearing on the budget. Speakers were very frustrated for a variety of reasons: lack of resources & funds, layoffs, school closures, & lack of responsiveness. The Hartford Courant account is here and the video of the public hearing on May 3, 2016 is here.

You can read the recommend budget here and check out the resource links below. You can also send me or post a question about the budget on this site.

The news is not good. The HPS Superintendent has proposed severe cuts to the school budget: a total cut of 235.8 full-time positions. (A list of cuts by people’s positions with the schools is below.)Screen Shot 2016-05-03 at 1.46.58 PM

So what’s my take?  “Arbitrary austerity” makes planning budgets on the ground level very difficult, but a few other things are happening at the same time:

  • Costs continue to go up over time, but revenue is flat.
  • The City of Hartford continues to flat fund the school system and pressure the school board to assume a greater portion of costs.

City of Hartford Proposed Education Budget FY2017

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  • Expansion of academies, charters, and magnets across the region has everybody fighting for a flat pool of students, leaving some schools “under-enrolled”. (See this post for more information on this issue.)
  • A number of private foundation grants will be reduced next year. The promises made with these grants do not go away, however. (e.g. Nellie Mae)
  • Support from the State (Governor and Legislature) is declining or flattening in a number of areas such as special funds/grants. (e.g. Education funding for municipalities, magnet funds, Alliance grants.)

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Source: CT Mirror, Budget Tracker, 2016.


Resource Links:

A Conversation on SBB School Funding in Hartford, by Robert Cotto

Budget Tracker, What’s on the Table So Far, CT Mirror.

Democrats’ Education Cuts Fall Heavily on CT’s Gold Coast, by Jacqueline Rabe Thomas, CT Mirror.

Impact of the Governor’s, Republican, Democratic, Proposed FY17 Budget on Children and Families, by CT Voices for Children.

Hartford Public Schools, Superintendent’s Recommended Budget 2016-17.

How the Proposed Budget Cuts Affect Your Town, by Matthew Kauffman, The Hartford Courant.

Mayor’s Recommended Budget FY17, City of Hartford

Proposed Hartford Schools Budget Would Eliminate 235 Full-Time Positions, by Vanessa de la Torre

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Robert Cotto Jr.

Robert Cotto, Jr. is a Lecturer in the Educational Studies department. Before his work at Trinity, he was a Senior Policy Fellow in K-12 Education for CT Voices for Children where he published reports on Connecticut’s testing system, public school choice, and K-12 education data and policy. He taught for seven years as a social studies teacher at the Metropolitan Learning Center for Global and International Studies (MLC), an interdistrict magnet school intended to provide a high-quality education and promote racial, ethnic, and economic integration. Born and raised in Connecticut, Mr. Cotto was the first in his family to go to college and he earned his B.A. degree in sociology at Dartmouth College, his Ed.M. at Harvard University Graduate School of Education, and an M.A. in American Studies at Trinity College. He is currently completing his Ph.D. in education policy at the University of Connecticut Neag School of Education. Robert lives with his wife and son in the Forster Heights area of the Southwest neighborhood in Hartford. Views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Trinity College.

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