Strong schools make strong communities by providing opportunity for our children and a workforce that attracts business and economic growth. But our schools, and our kids, have been shortchanged by the city and the state for more than a decade.
Danbury has been 169 out of 169 towns and cities in Connecticut in per pupil spending for the past three years and in the bottom 10 percent for nearly a decade. The city’s school system has a graduation rate of about 80 percent, also among the lowest in the state. And only 26 percent of students are proficient in mathematics.
Danbury is at a crossroads in many ways, and nowhere is that more apparent than in the school system.
The city has continued to grow in population, even as other communities decline, and increased enrollment has created challenges for our educators. Overdevelopment, particularly on Danbury’s West Side, without a plan to manage that growth, increased enrollment, and years of inadequate funding have led to our schools being overcrowded and underserved.
Adding modular classrooms to Westside and Shelter Rock only serve as a short-term solution that alleviates the problem for now. But Danbury needs a real plan to address the district’s needs today, not temporary solutions that just push the problem off until tomorrow.
We can and must do better. Our children’s future and the future of the city depend on it. As Mayor, I will take action and begin a conversation with parents, teachers, community and business leaders, administrators and others for answers. I will take action to ask the hard questions and get the answers we need:
- Work with the Board of Education and the City Council to prioritize our education budget and find the resources that our schools and students need to be successful
- Create a commission that will include facilities experts, educators, parents and other community stakeholders so we can build a strategic plan for the schools including both its infrastructure and operational needs.
- Work with our State Representatives and State Senators and leadership in Hartford to make sure Danbury gets its long overdue fair share of education funding.
- Ensure that our children get the best start in life they can by creating free pre-k programs citywide.
- Connect high school students with local companies and higher education institutions right here in Danbury to expand our workforce.
Let’s build a strategic plan for the schools. Let’s pressure the City Council to prioritize the education budget so we meet our increasing needs. Alongside our other city leaders, let’s advocate in Hartford for Danbury’s fair share of education funding until we get it.
As the Democratic candidate for Mayor, I ask you to join me in seeking out new, smarter and more efficient ways to create a school system that our children deserve, that taxpayers can afford, and will be the envy of the state.