Opinion: Student Perspective: Fully Fund Our Bridgeport Schools
The following opinion piece was written by Kolbe Cathedral high school student Nyasha Williams:
On Monday, May 9, Bridgeport City Council will vote on a budget proposal that includes a $ 2.5 million increase for the education budget, instead of the $ 8.5 million requested by the school board. After years of flat funding, the increase in the school budget is not enough and there will still be cuts. As Callie Gale Heilmann and Gemeem Davis wrote in a recent CT Post editorial, “Since 2014, just for refusing to keep up with inflation, we’ve basically cut $ 26.5 million in value. ‘education’. Public school funding should not only keep up with inflation, but try to improve. I am in 9th grade and went to public school in Jamaica until I moved to Bridgeport when I was nine, when I went to Luis Munoz Marin Elementary, then to High Horizon Magnet School and now to Kolbe Cathedral High School in through the Shepherds Mentors Fellowship. program. My brother and cousins go to Bridgeport Public Schools. The mayor and city council should invest more in Bridgeport public schools because education is an essential part of growing up. Students deserve to have the resources to excel in the future.
Bridgeport schools have already made cuts to staff and school curricula. As Joseph Sokolovic, a member of the Building Board, told the Bridgeport City Council budget hearing on April 27, “Bridgeport Public Schools has already made more than $ 40 million in programming. and staff cuts since 2016 “. Without sufficient funding, students will not have access to up-to-date educational technology, art materials, extracurricular activities, and even transportation. While teachers often try to create new strategies to avoid budget cuts, they do not have the capacity to replace a solid resource base. Many of these programs that are being cut could be the reason why students find joy in going to school. For example, I’m a person who may not like all of my subjects, but I like going to school because I know I have to practice athletics later. It gives me the thrill of knowing that we do competitions every week and I also have the exercise I need without going to the gym. Students deserve to have a comprehensive education and have opportunities to discover what their passions are.
Bridgeport is a place where many people do not plan to come and live. Parents would rather send their children to schools in neighboring cities like Fairfield. If we want people to move here and send their children to our schools, we need to increase the school budget. There are more than 20,000 students in the Bridgeport School District and they need the resources to get a good education, so the school budget needs to increase. According to USNews and World Report, Bridgeport’s minority enrollment is 90% and more than half of our students are financially disadvantaged. It is a matter of social justice: the school budget needs to be increased. In the coming years, the school budget must not only catch up with inflation, but provide the resources to improve our schools. If the mayor and the city council are unable to do so, we must choose other representatives to do so.