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Connecticut News

Connecticut Considers Charter School Moratorium

Davis Dunavin

There are 17 charter schools – schools that are publicly funded but independently run - in the state of Connecticut. State lawmakers are considering a controversial bill that would put a moratorium on any new ones.

On Wednesday, supporters of charter schools spoke against the bill at a rally at a New Haven charter school. Speaker Desire Gonzales said she thinks charter schools have higher standards. Her son is in public school, and her daughter is in a charter school.

“She’s challenged a little bit more, she’s encouraged a little bit more,” Gonzales said. “You have one-on-one personal time with the teachers, and they really care and make sure that not only are they learning book smarts, but they’re learning to be a better person inside.”

Teacher’s unions say every time a charter school opens, it siphons away state funds that would otherwise go to public schools. They say that hurts kids in urban neighborhoods where schools are already underfunded.

“They consume money, precious resources, that the urban school districts desperately need to try to improve the public schools for all the children,” said Rob Traber, president of the Bridgeport Education Association, a local part of the state’s largest teacher’s union.

A public hearing on the charter school bill is scheduled for today before the state legislature’s education committee in Hartford. In the last fiscal year, the state spent about $74 million on charter schools.