Cash-strapped Hartford could close schools - WFSB 3 Connecticut

Cash-strapped Hartford could close schools

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(WFSB file photo) (WFSB file photo)

As the capital city continues to look for ways to get out of a financial crisis, school officials looked at a few scenarios Thursday night that involved the closure of several schools.

Superintendent Beth Schiavino-Narvaez called the plans a first draft and reasoned that the city needed fewer schools and improved education as the district was dealing with a financial and declining enrollment issues. 

Three proposals called for the closures of the Burns Latino Studies Academy, the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Elementary School and Simpson-Waverly Classical Magnet School. They could shutter by the end of the next school year.

The plans also called for the John C. Clark School Jr. Elementary School to not be rebuilt. It's been shut down since early 2015 because of PCB contamination.

Two of the proposals also looked at closing the Thirman L. Milner School.

One of the plans called for the McDonough middle school to be relocated to Hartford Public High School and returning Capital Community College Magnet Academy to a neighborhood school.

Schiavino-Narvaez cited declining enrollment. She said some schools have been half empty.

Firm Milone & MacBroom provided data for the proposals. It projected that Hartford's 20,162 students from last school year will shrink to 18,217 by the 2020-2021 school year.

School officials said the students put out by the closures would be moved to open seats at other schools.

 "I don't think I would support any one of those specific proposals as is and the importance thing to emphasize is nobody is asking anybody to support those specific proposals as is it's just part of the conversation," Hartford Mayor Luke Bronin said. 

The proposals were met with anger by some members of the Equity 2020 Committee, who said the process has been rushed without input from them. Parents told Eyewitness News they also feel left out. 

"They take everything from this side and they want to complain there's nothing for us to do over here," parent Christina Diaz said.  

The school district currently has 47 schools open. Three proposals would look to down size the school district starting for the 2017-2018 school year. 

"What it clear is we have to we are going to have to make some tough choices," Bronin said. "Our school system has a number of schools that are severely under enrolled and we're going to deliver quality education to kids in Hartford regardless of where they live we need to make sure that we have schools that are we are really able to focus our resources on where we know quality education is being delivered and make sure students can be in those schools."

"Try someone else close one school and try to help we got a baseball stadium that they just found some more money for, find some money for these schools," parent Lawrence Mounds said. 

The school board could meet on a consolation plan as early as December. 

See the complete proposal here.

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