On Jan. 23, the Hartford Board of Education unanimously passed a plan that will close 12 schools in the Hartford School District over the next three years and reconfigure others. Parents and teachers have contested the plan, saying it will negatively impact students.
According to a press release from the Hartford Board of Education, the district will save approximately $15 million by closing various school buildings. The savings will be used to increase spending on community services and to build a dual language school for Spanish and English.
Batchelder Elementary School, a PreK-8 school, will close and the building will be turned into a Montessori magnet school.
A Batchelder Elementary teacher who wishes to remain anonymous believes the City of Hartford is not taking students into consideration when putting a magnet school in place.
“This school is not closing, children are being replaced. Our 400 and something children, (statistically mostly) Hispanic and African Americans, are being asked to leave and dispersed among four other schools,” the teacher said. “The building will remain open but it will open to a magnet school, (mostly populated with) suburban Caucasian and Asian children and some Hartford children.”
The 1996 Connecticut Supreme Court case Sheff vs. O’Neill established that Hartford students may choose to transfer to suburban districts, urban districts or interdistrict magnet schools to help reduce district segregation. The schools have a specific quota for students of each ethnicity to promote integration, according to the American Civil Liberties Union. The Montessori magnet school is one of the “open choice” schools.
Read the whole story at UC’s The Daily Campus.