Schools Tackle $20M Tiger

Christopher Peak PhotoStaring down a deepening budget hole, Superintendent Carol Birks is shuffling teaching assignments and negotiating furlough days — while school board members directed her to look at more extreme actions, like closing additional schools.

Those two strategies were presented during the Board of Education’s Finance & Operations Committee meeting Monday evening on Meadow Street, as the school system figures out the least painful way to slash a tenth of the operating budget.

After a committee of alders voted last week to reject Mayor Toni Harp’s request for an increase and instead flat-fund schools, Birks needs to cut $19.4 million in planned spending next year to not exceed the $187.2 million budget.

Still in her first months on the job, she’s already in the process of closing down Cortlandt V.R. Creed High School, consolidating three alternative schools and renegotiating the leases for two district offices.

Birks is moving instructional coaches and other educators in supervisory roles back into the classroom, in a first pass at filling more than 75 vacancies without hiring new teachers.

School board members also asked Birks to collect more rent from tenants at district-owned buildings, try getting lower bids from contractors, and limit overtime and vehicle usage.

Together, those changes have saved $13.22 million. But “as we were working on to get close to it, somebody moved the cheese,” said Darrell Hill, the part-time budget director. “We have significant work to identify an additional $6.8 million, but as Dr. Birks covered well, our work is continuing.”

With all those cuts underway, Darnell Goldson, the board’s president, said he’d been “surprised” by an alder’s comments that they weren’t doing enough to get their budget in line. Last week, Adam Marchand, vice-chair of the Board of Alders Finance Committee, said they were redirecting a $5 million increase in school spending to public employee medical benefits to send a “clear signal to the Board of Education that they have to make some changes.”

“This is three days after we closed three schools and cut a bunch of money in leases and so on,” said Goldson, a former alder. “Clearly, they don’t think that was enough or want us to do more.”

On Monday, Birks indicated she hopes to close the deficit through staff realignment and other union concessions, while the finance committee asked her to look at closing six more elementary schools.

Asked to present to the committee, Tom McCarthy, the city’s labor relations director, talked about the benefits of furlough days as a way to make up cash. As an upside, teachers at least get a day off, and the loss of pay can be spread throughout the year.

“You have to be confident in saying to the unions, ‘I have to get to these numbers,’” McCarthy advised. “I have to get it one way or another. If not a furlough, it may be a layoff.”

For each furlough day, the district would save about $650,000, estimated Michael Gormany, the city’s budget director.

Birks didn’t share the details of her negotiations with the unions, but she said they were open to “more creative ways of looking at staffing.” “We told them the estimated value of where we needed to go in terms of certified staff,” she said, “and they’ve been very cooperative in helping us. They understand that we’re trying.”

She went out of her way several times to thank them for their cooperation at the bargaining table. Both sides, she explained, are trying to limit layoffs by finding other ways to save.

“There’s no question that this is the worst crisis we’ve faced. We’ve had budget deficits but none of this magnitude,” said Dave Cicarella, the teachers union president. “Everything is being done to avoid layoffs and also to make certain that any cuts that have to be made have the least impact on students.”

Cicarella said the primary way to make up money will be through attrition, scaling back the workforce after the expiration of several grants, including a major $53.4 million boost from the feds. “We have people we could move around, changing assignments and positions, to minimize the impact on the classroom.”

But Cicarella was cooler on furlough days as a solution for a deficit of this size. “I know everyone always discusses those, but it’s not an option that really generates enough money,” he said, adding, “It’s never good for morale.”

After that, Jamell Cotto, the finance committee’s vice-chair, asked the superintendent to look at closing six elementary schools. In a last-minute amendment to the agenda, he asked for data on Quinnipiac Real World STEM Magnet, Edgewood Magnet, Barnard Environmental Studies Magnet, Wexler-Grant Community, Augusta Lewis Troup, and West Rock STREAM Academy.

(Tamiko Jackson-McArthur had left to deal with an emergency; Ed Joyner sat in the audience, after Cotto told him he wasn’t on the committee and couldn’t ask questions.) 

Cotto presented the list without any explanation for why the schools had been picked.

The only criteria appeared to be that the six elementary schools covered every corner of the city, from Fair Haven Heights to Westville and Amity, from West River to Dwight and Dixwell. After the meeting, Goldson said they’d purposefully chosen schools from a range of areas across New Haven.

He added that he’d heard several had failing test scores. That’s true at Wexler-Grant and Troup, the district’s two lowest performers on state assessments. But it’s way off at Edgewood, an in-demand school with high marks, and Quinnipiac, a successful turnaround just recognized by the state.

Cotto said several were in danger of losing state magnet funds for not meeting diversity goals. That could be true at Barnard, which has about 15 percent white students. But if that were the criteria, there’s more segregated inter-district magnet elementaries, like King-Robinson, Beecher, and John C. Daniels Schools.

West Rock, a small inter-district magnet with high diversity and low marks from the state, was already listed once before as a possible closure, based on a recommendation from Reggie Mayo, the interim superintendent before Birks took over.

“This is not your recommendation,” Goldson told Birks. “We just want you to take a look at these schools.”

“Any questions?” Cotto asked.

“No,” Birks answered.

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posted by: Politics 101 on May 22, 2018  8:40am

Is there really give in the system to close this many schools? Are there empty seats in the classrooms? I doubt it just based on enrollment at my kid’s school (which isn’t on the list but it isn’t by reputation any more “in demand” than these schools) but that’d be helpful and relevant information to have.

And what’s going to happen to New Light’s building? That’s prime real estate, I hope the City plans to sell it at market rate.

posted by: Noteworthy on May 22, 2018  8:40am

Budget Notes:

1. The schools have been over-funded and largely unaccountable, fat and happy for decades. It has been used to support a lot of family and friends, double dippers, poor performers and the wet dreams of mayors who love new buildings, more schools and expansive employment.

2. The financial engineering - the underpinning of why the system was converted to magnets, why we were forced into this diversity dilemma was predicated on chasing state money. This ignorant choice was started in the DeStefano years and used as a rationale by Mayor Harp as well which is why the city is going into more debt and building the Strong School on the campus of SCSU.

3. I suggested earlier to close more schools than necessary, consolidate as much as possible in order to get on strong financial footing. Nobody moved the cheese - staff and the NHPS never found it. Ignored the recommendations of budget hawks and kept on spending and building.

4. The mayor’s current budget requires a $30 million tax hike. It’s because like the school board upon which she sits, spends without rational thought or respect for taxpayers. There are no serious cuts, there is more spending. There is no consolidation, no savings, no recognition of the current fiscal problems or the future dire consequences. There is just a vacuous look that demands pay raises, chauffeurs, more staff and big pay days for pet employees while holding none of them accountable.

5. My recommendation to the NHPS - make deep cuts, close more schools than you need and dramatically button up your operations to maximize savings.

posted by: opin1 on May 22, 2018  8:58am

What about administrators? I’m no expert on this matter but I hear many people complain we have too many highly paid (six figure) administrators, particularly at Meadow St. Could the NHI look into this?  How many are there? what do they do? How many six figure administrators are there in New Haven compared to other districts, etc. In all the articles I’ve read about BOE cuts I haven’t seen cutting administrators discussed as an idea, except in the comments section.

posted by: mohovs on May 22, 2018  9:13am

Oh look at that, surprise, the BOE can find ways to save money. Now if the rest of New Haven can sharpen their pencils too!

posted by: Elizabethaiken on May 22, 2018  9:20am

Where are the children from the schools that are under consideration for closing going to go?

posted by: Noteworthy on May 22, 2018  9:46am

Elizabeth:

We have empty seats all over New Haven. We have massive buildings with many single purpose uses. Appropriate a space, make it a classroom. There are lots of options.

posted by: JohnTulin on May 22, 2018  10:10am

Elizabethaiken - to other schools.  Was that a serious question?

Cic - “We have people we could move around, changing assignments and positions, to minimize the impact on the classroom.”  Why are you waiting until now to do this?  Not doing this years ago put the city into this mess, and then people are blaming Birks for having to clean up the mess left by her predecessors.  Blame Reg, blame Garth, King John, Harp.  Birks is not the bad guy here. 

Goldson - Yes, when the alders said you weren’t doing enough “Clearly, they don’t think that was enough…” Glad you were able to figure that one out.  Thanks.

If Birks keeps this up, many of us will want her to run for mayor next and clean up the entire mess!

posted by: 1644 on May 22, 2018  10:10am

opin1:  To compare, Branford, with 3K students, has one high school with one principal and two assistants, one Middle school, and three elementary schools with one principal and no assistants.  Branford has created six “coach” positions for teachers.  Like most CT systems, its student body is shrinking, leading to the elimination of 7 positions, although the operating budget has increased about 2% every year for several years.

posted by: naturaleza on May 22, 2018  10:12am

(Tamiko Jackson-McArthur had left to deal with an emergency; Ed Joyner sat in the audience, after Cotto told him he wasn’t on the committee and couldn’t ask questions.)

Seems a tad petty for a rookie member to tell the most qualified and one of the most senior members they can’t ask questions.  Especially given the topic du jour.

OPTICS..!

posted by: 06511 on May 22, 2018  10:28am

Noteworthy,

Your earlier comment was on the right track, but I made a few edits:

We have (millionaires) all over (Connecticut). We have massive (amounts of money in the hands of a few). Appropriate (some money), make (more classrooms that dignify our students). There are lots of options.

posted by: Samuel T. Ross-Lee on May 22, 2018  10:40am

It is my sincerest prayer that Dr. Birks does not receive animosity for doing the hard but necessary work of cleaning up a system that this city gladly accepted (and participated with) over the last 20 years.  A system that has left us in the condition that we are in right now. 

New Haven celebrated John DeStefano and Reginald Mayo for the past two decades, making it virtually impossible for anyone to criticize or even critique their words or their work.  They gave jobs to people who did not deserve them (double dipping) along with other budgetary malfeasance for political coverage and legal campaign “kickbacks.”  Now, the new Superintendent is under the strain of fixing that which was allowed to go wrong for so long.

When that part of the public that has sucked on the municipal budget’s teet of so long begins to complain about things that are entirely unrelated to these cuts and changes, I hope that the rest of us realize that the complaints are really about the changing system and not the things that they may say about her as a person. 

Between the final two candidates for the Superintendent’s position, Dr. Birks was not my choice.  But, she is the person in the post and with the awesome responsibility on her shoulders now.  We should all throw our support, our protective support around here, as she marches forward doing what is necessary to create not just a school system, but an education system of which ALL parents can be proud and in which ALL students are educated to the maximum of their inherent abilities.

The Rev. Mr. Samuel T. Ross-Lee, Pastor
The Immanuel Missionary Baptist Church
New Haven, CT

posted by: ClassActionToo on May 22, 2018  10:41am

Bottom line, you can only raise taxes just so much before citizens start to leave, prospective new homeowners look at places other than New Haven and these tax & spend politicians are voted out. The NHPS system is long overdue for a shakeup and a financial correction.

posted by: tmctague on May 22, 2018  11:29am

Between the final two candidates for the Superintendent’s position, Dr. Birks was not my choice.  But, she is the person in the post and with the awesome responsibility on her shoulders now.  We should all throw our support, our protective support around here, as she marches forward doing what is necessary to create not just a school system, but an education system of which ALL parents can be proud and in which ALL students are educated to the maximum of their inherent abilities.

The Rev. Mr. Samuel T. Ross-Lee, Pastor
The Immanuel Missionary Baptist Church
New Haven, CT

I throw my support to the students, families, and teachers of New Haven Public Schools.  They are the majority; they are the stakeholders directly affected by any decisions made by Birks, her office, or the Board.  When we close schools, shouldn’t we support the families?  Shouldn’t we throw our support to the 100+ 8th graders that chose to attend Creed HS next year and, in late May don’t know what school they’ll attend in the Fall?  I understand your point, give her a fair chance as she completes a job that she chose, but I see many other areas that are more worthy of our collective support.

Terence McTague
Hill Regional Career High School, Science Teacher
New Haven, CT

posted by: Samuel T. Ross-Lee on May 22, 2018  11:50am

Terence McTague,

What exactly do you mean by “our collective support?”  The fact is this: We were not collectively supporting these students while the community was allowing the previous persons in power do what they did to get us to this point. 

We did not consider the reverberating implications of their behaviors and how they would affect the students.  The community mostly remained silent because husbands and wives, friends and family, church members and fraternity and sorority members were being fed and fatted.  So, to talk about giving “our collective support” to the students now is a bit late, and it might be a bit disingenuous. 

Rev. Ross-Lee

posted by: Jill_the_Pill on May 22, 2018  11:54am

Opin1, the Birks administration’s budget plan cuts about $1 million in “non-certified staff” which would include some administrators ($1 million = eight $125,000 salaries).  She also wants to hire several new “executive” administrators, and that won’t be cheap.

posted by: BenBerkowitz on May 22, 2018  11:59am

This was very poorly played by the BOE. To raise the specter of closing one of the few truly diverse and performing schools in the city has far reaching consequences beyond the political leverage the BOE might have hoped to create. In a city which has more things going for it than it has in 70 years it is impressive how we’re still able to shoot ourselves in the foot.

Our family is in Westville and New Haven because we will be sending our kids to Edgewood.  We’re here in New Haven because my Dad went to Edgewood. Even the suggestion of closing a school that is the determining factor for many to live in Westville and New Haven will have immediate economic consequences on the city.

Just prior to this bombshell a whole group of parents were already organizing to step up involvement at Edgewood.  That group appears poised to lean into the public school’s challenges and not run as others with means have done in the past. This blindsiding school closure threat in late May for a school that has been a community institution for nearly a century is reckless and will surely scare those one fiercely loyal out of New Haven.

Someone in leadership would be wise to quickly nip this in the bud before further damage is done.

posted by: FacChec on May 22, 2018  12:11pm

There is no evidence here that KIDS received first consideration as the Finance & Operations Committee weighed budget cuts. First it was cut to service people, then crossing guards, by Carol Birks, then, oh, the hell with it.. Close three plus possible more schools.. Kids did not come first as their motto prescribes, obviously, the superintends pay came first,  raising that salary from $197K to $235K without consideration for a decreasing budget. Overall however,  the BOA is receiving MORE ECS funds including special education, more none statuary grant monies, more Magnet/charter school money, more school construction money.
http://www.nhps.net/SchoolConstruction.

What the BOE has been mum about is none state grants and those amounts.

http://ctschoolfinance.org/assets/uploads/files/New-Haven-FAQs.pdf

posted by: THREEFIFTHS on May 22, 2018  12:23pm

posted by: Elizabethaiken on May 22, 2018 10:20am

Where are the children from the schools that are under consideration for closing going to go.

Do Not worry.It will be like the in the movie.Waiting for Superman wherein charter Schools swoop in to save a broken, public school system.

posted by: wm1234 on May 22, 2018  12:45pm

Thank you Ben for acknowledging this! Edgewood kids perform, show up everyday and have tremendous parent involvement.  Westville is built around Edgewood and has been for over 100 years.

posted by: mechanic on May 22, 2018  12:58pm

The rumor is that Birks has a brand new car and driver compliments of New Haven taxpayers. Is this true?  If it is true, how can she be driven around and talk about furlough days at the same time?

posted by: repmd on May 22, 2018  1:06pm

No one seems to challenge or demand that the BOE justify the transportation cost. There is 25 million dollars being protected while we causally discuss closing schools.

posted by: Ozzie on May 22, 2018  2:57pm

What City this size has 10 High Schools ? Maybe its time to go back to 3 Little Jr back in the day Cross,Hillhouse and the next biggest sized one , be it Career or one of the others, Also bring back some shop classes that give some of these kids the ability to learn a trade

posted by: Jill_the_Pill on May 22, 2018  2:59pm

“Birks has a brand new car and driver compliments of New Haven taxpayers. Is this true?”

The car is true, including gas, insurance, maintenance and repairs.  The driver is not, unless she is paying for that herself. 

You can read the Superintendent’s contract at NHPSAdvocates.org, under the Budget2018 tab.

posted by: tmctague on May 22, 2018  4:14pm

Rev. Ross-Lee,

I promise you my comment was not disingenuous, I consider my occupation of teaching in New Haven much like a vocation.  I work hard and I comment from a “boots on the ground” perspective.  And while the call for support may be a bit late, the national news features teacher and student-led walkouts regularly, so we can both assume everyone is fed up.  These events also demonstrate a collective support for better wages, gun policy change, and increased funding for schools.  I suppose I’m left wondering which one of the many causes will we choose to galvanize around here in New Haven.  Our collective voice was not loud enough during the Superintendent selection process, and here we are, talking about school closures. 

Also, I am certain your experience precedes mine, so I can’t comment on the past 20 years of NHPS shenanigans, but I can definitely highlight the damage caused by Garth Harries’ tenure.  When we accepted a $300 million+ grant and subsequently created new offices, job positions, and resources, we created an obviously unsustainable machine.  When he was asked to resign and the grant not renewed, we careened off of the proverbial TIF (Teacher Incentive Fund) cliff.  And here we are. 

I will continue to work hard no matter the Superintendednt, like all other teachers, and continue to do more with less.  When things get better, who will get credit?  If things get worse, who will get blamed? 

Yours in the common pursuit of an equitable education,
T. McTague

posted by: 1644 on May 22, 2018  4:17pm

repmd: The BoE did challenge the transportation costs, ignoring the advice of Mr. Clark and the obvious increases in fuel and labor costs since the current contract was awarded.  The BoE rejected an option to extend the contract at the present price, and re-bid it.  Predictably,  the new bid was considerably higher than the current price.  BoE is statutorily obligated to provide transportation.  New Haven’s costs, of course, are significantly higher than they should be because of the number of schools and the magnet school choice program which requires buses students hither and yon criss-crossing the district.  Other commentators have advocated for a return to neighborhood schools to reduce transportation costs.  As noted in the article, most of New Haven’s inter-district, magnet schools are failing in their purpose of reducing racial isolation by attracting white students.  Closing schools will reduce transportation costs.

posted by: LivingInNewHaven on May 22, 2018  5:42pm

All the people crying about Edgewood sound like they don’t want their kids mixing with any kids outside of Westville!!! The entire city carts their kids all over to schools outside of their neighborhoods. What makes the kids in Westville too good to do the same? To the SEE CLICK FIX guy you should be ashamed of your social threats. Your BOA refused to fund the BOE. Go talk to the BOA and get the education money out in the budget, they you wouldn’t have to worry about not going to the school that your forefathers went to..SMH. The superintendent will
make her recommendations and we’ll have to deal with it. Until then, all you people in Westville who are scared to let your kids mix with other kids in the city need to take a few seats and just wait to see what happens. These reactions are really telling of how the good people of Westville really are!! Oh yea, forgot they fought a Family Dollar because they wanted a Starbucks instead. SMH

posted by: BenBerkowitz on May 22, 2018  6:10pm

Living in New Haven, Edgewood has many kids from outside of Westville and kids who live next door. That’s why we like it.

posted by: BenBerkowitz on May 22, 2018  6:18pm

And also @livinginnewhaven, there was no threat implied but I appreciate your blind judgement as just that. There are people who will read the Register article who are currently making decisions about where they will raise families and they will see this uncertainty as good reason not to invest in our community. I’m not telling you about my decisions. I’m stating facts about how people make decisions that effect their children.

posted by: wm1234 on May 22, 2018  7:20pm

We do have a right to fight for our school! Our kids have grown up together, play together. It’s a true neighborhood school and I am proud of it and there is no reason my kids have to be sent anywhere else! This is a war between the boe and boa. Unacceptable the way it was reported and now is seems like a threat! There is more to this story. stay tuned and pay attention to the budget meetings.

posted by: Samuel T. Ross-Lee on May 22, 2018  7:33pm

Terence McTague.

You wrote, “...I am certain your experience precedes mine, so I can’t comment on the past 20 years of NHPS shenanigans, but I can definitely highlight the damage caused by Garth Harries’ tenure.”

If you cannot speak for the past 20 years because you are not aware of what occurred during that time, then you cannot fully understand my original comments here on this matter. However, that is no fault of your own.

As a brief education on that period, I’ll say simply to you, Garth Harries’ appointment was an attempt to continue what had preceded him.  The “game,” however, had changed by the time Harries took office, and neither the mayor nor the Super had the unbridled power that they held before Harries’ appointment.

The fact that you feel comfortable engaging this conversation using your REAL full name and position as an NHPS employee speaks to the great extent to which change has come to the city, though not enough.

National walk-outs across the country have little to do with the attitudes of NHPS employees. Fear and foreboding have been the leading emotions in this city of virtually anyone who has the temerity to speak out.  The reach of the municipal government has been so long that they have even reached into the churches here to influence clergy who, according to our form of government is supposed to be free of government influence.

All of the above-stated elements came together to set the stage for what we have now, and that for which Dr. Birks is now responsible for correcting. Moreover, there is at least one commenter here who is already posting ad hominem attacks.  So, let’s see how long the city and its leaders support her in cleaning up a mess that is not of her doing.

Rev. Ross-Lee

posted by: newhavenishome on May 22, 2018  8:35pm

Harp better reign in her minions on the Board of Ed. Edgewood is in Ward 25, usually the largest voter turnout in the city. If you mess with their crown jewel, then you pay the price come Election Day.
What an absolute mess this is turning into. I agree there is probably no way to avoid more closures or consolidations, but focus on the schools with the most empty seats.

posted by: edgewooder on May 22, 2018  9:39pm

I think it’s fair, not just blind judgment, to take some issue with the comments about Edgewood school and the idea that someone is “in Westville and New Haven because we will be sending our kids to Edgewood” and that it is “the determining factor for many to live in Westville and New Haven…”

That line of argument makes public education a private good for those who can ‘buy in’ via purchasing a house in the ‘right’ neighborhood. To treat one’s own neighborhood public school as if private property, as if one has ‘property rights’ to it (and will threaten to move if those private property rights aren’t honored in some relative way) isn’t what the promise of public education is (or should be) about. Because no child’s public education should be placed above any other child’s. Period. That’s how we’ve ended up with worse segregation now than pre-Brown, and also a good amount of how and why segregation was upheld even before that… and also how we’ve ended up with “some integration” but on terms set disproportionately by good white liberals who invoke property values, incomes, etc. as soon as the threat becomes personal (i.e., affecting their own kids vs. others).

It’s great to love and support our neighbors and neighborhood school. That’s what the dream of a public system depends on. But not to the exclusion of wanting that same thing for every other child so badly that we fight as hard for others as we do for our own - maybe fight moreso even, given the morality of it, if we’re racially and economically advantaged and thus our children are, too, in ways many other kids aren’t.

So… will Edgewood parents show up for Creed kids and families, for example? That’s what public education looks like. Neighborhood hood and a collective commitment to the city’s children. All of them.

posted by: denny says on May 22, 2018  11:02pm

Seems to me the BOE suggested closing Edgewood as a way to stoke the coals and send a message to Ward 25 Alder Adam Marchand. The BOE threw out the red meat so to speak, and Ben and others took the bait. And sadly, yet predictably, many are now playing the race card on Ben, and the school closings.  And now the BOE has shifted, manipulated the focus away from its own incompetence and overspending and instead toward race/social injustice.

posted by: West.ville on May 23, 2018  12:51am

Racially there are few school more diverse than Edgewood school- 53% African American 30% white 14% Hispanic. Economically and culturally Edgewood is also diverse. This community has created naturally that which the interdistrict schools aimed to create artificially by bussing kids in.  It should be held up as a gem of what is possible when all stakeholders invest and cultivate the best school they can, without special funds, without interdistrict money, we did it.  It is our school created for the people by the people.  The idea that the families of Edgewood want to be separate from New Haven, is just not the case- if we didn’t value the culture of the city we would not have laid roots here.  Edgewood community members are politically active have invested in not just The neighborhood around our school, but all of New Haven. The idea it is hypocritical for anyone to fight hardest when their own kids are attacked makes no sense to me.  We will continue advocating for all new haven kids, by saving one of the top performing schools in the city.

posted by: NHLearner on May 23, 2018  6:30am

Edgewood stopped being a neighborhood school several years ago. It is officially a magnet school, and it’s teachers and curriculum are no better than any other in the city. It just happens to have a history of attracting a certain type of student applicant.
The neighborhood that surrounds it also has a neighborhood high school, Hillhouse. It is interesting that the same parents that consider Edgewood to be “their” school somehow do anything to NOT send their students to their neighborhood high school.
When push comes to shove it’s all about the demographics of who is sitting next to their child.
TL:DR All our schools deserve support, no matter the neighborhood or makeup.

posted by: 1644 on May 23, 2018  7:04am

Edgewooder:  I wonder, do you have children?  In an ideal world, everything you say would be true.  In the real world,  parents have limited resources of both money and time,  and favor their own children in how they spend their money and time.  Any real estate agent will tell you that a good school system is key to high real estate values because parents do choose to live where their kids can get the best education.  The exception is those who can afford private schools.  The gouge on New Haven for bourgeois buyers has long been than Prospect Hill and Westville were okay because of Edgewood and Hooker, although after that parents should plan on paying tuition at Hopkins, Hamden Hall, or boarding school.  Selfish?  Yes, but it’s reality.  Note that The Carters, Clintons, and Obamas all chose Sidwell Friends over DC public schools.  Closer to home,  Branford High wasn’t good enough for Ted Kennedy, Jr.‘s kids: he and Kiki sent their kids to Choate Rosemary.

posted by: westville man on May 23, 2018  8:11am

Sheff v O’Neil,  and the resulting solutions, were all DOA. I predicted as much about 20 years ago. It’s based upon 2 huge errors in reasoning:

1.  “Minority” students are “racially isolated” and need white kids sitting next to them to learn (nothing about the white kids being racially isolated);and

2.  Failing to understand that white folks move to the suburbs generally to get their kids into “good schools”, which means for them few or no kids of color there.  “Good neighborhoods” and “good schools” go hand in hand.

So unless we deal with the racial undertones of those decisions, getting white kids back to New Haven or other urban schools will always be an uphill battle. Failure was the most likely result. 
Since dealing with race will never happen in the near future on any meaningful level (just wait and see the comments that follow with “race card” ,  “injecting race”, etc ),  we should just improve our schools so that our children of color have qualified teachers who believe and support them with adequate funding for that.  And forget about sitting next to white kids in order to learn.

It’s 2018, wake up!  Same old BS excuses don’t fly anymore, so I won’t be responding to the usual commentators and their “opinions”  whenever this issue is brought up.

posted by: Samuel T. Ross-Lee on May 23, 2018  9:34am

Westville Man,

Well Said.

posted by: LivingInNewHaven on May 23, 2018  7:13pm

@Westville Man

EXACTLY!!!