New London parents urge for higher school budget - WFSB 3 Connecticut

New London parents urge for higher school budget

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A group of parents in New London are advocating to be more involved in the budget process and decisions that are affecting their children's education, including class sizes.

The New London Parent Advocates said there are key areas in the proposed $40 million board of education budget that they want addressed.

"Classroom sizes, dwindling staff and professional support, maintenance of school buildings, and community services are areas that were negatively affected by five consecutive years of flat funding and this budget does nothing to fix that," said Regina Nicholson, who is a parent leader with NLPA.

NLPA told Eyewitness News it is unheard of having a board of education with five consecutive years of flat funding.

The proposed budget includes a 1 percent increase, which will mostly cover salary and benefit increases.

The NLPA told Eyewitness News that some classes have more than 25 kids to one teacher, buildings are deteriorating, they have bare bones guidance counseling staff and no after-school programs.

Some parents want the city to ask for more funding.

"I'm at the point where I don't blame other groups that are not for budget increases because when you don't have clearly delineated priorities, almost what is the purpose," said Myrna Martinez, who is the co-founder of NLPA.

The NLPA sent a letter to the New London Board of Education where the group asked to join the budget process and work with school leaders.

"We hope that our elected officials would find value in our plea and revisit the draft budget that they intend to submit to the City Council," said Mongi Dhaouadi, who is a member of the NLPA.

The board of education recently adopted a plan to turn all the schools here into an all magnet school district.

Included in the budget proposal is money to recruit students from outside the district.

"What we're saying to the board is ask for what you think you need to make the kids succeed and let us advocate for you and let the city be the one to say I can't afford that and give you less," Dhaouadi said. "Instead the board of education is coming to the table already with no chips in hand to bargain."

The NLPA is expected to attend the New London Board of Education public hearing. The meeting will be inside the lecture hall at the Science & Technology Magnet High School at 6 p.m.

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