Wednesday, May 21, 2008

3 city charter schools to receive grants for science classroom, sprinklers, debt

By Alexandra Sanders
Special to the Register
— Three New Haven charter schools will receive a total of almost $1.5 million in grants under a plan by Gov. M. Jodi Rell.
Rell’s plan to grant $5 million to various charter schools in Connecticut is expected to be approved when the State Bond Commission meets May 30.
Common Ground High School will receive $826,500, Elm City College Preparatory School will be granted $179,129 and Amistad Academy will be given $500,000.
The grants are intended to allow the schools to improve the learning environment, as well as enhance the overall character of the schools.
“Investing in the infrastructure now makes good sense over the long-term as we continue to press forward in narrowing the achievement gap,” Rell said in a statement.
Charter schools depend on state funding because they are independently run and publicly funded, and they are not connected to a school district, said Tom Murphy, state Education Department spokesman.
The state Department of Education submitted a request for the bond money in Oct. 2007. However, the grants just now are being considered due to the high request rate. Schools are chosen by the State Bond Commission to receive grants based on specific criteria and funds available.
Common Ground High School, the only charter high school in Connecticut and one of the schools chosen to receive a grant, will use the money to build a new science classroom.
“The other classrooms don’t meet the demands of a science focused classroom,” said Oliver Barton, director and founder of the school.
The decision to improve and expand the school was fueled by Rell’s decision to raise the enrollment cap in 2006. The expansion relieves the current problem of overcrowding, Barton said. This is the second grant that Common Ground received in the last five years. The first was necessary to construct a school library.
“I am terrifically excited,” said Trisha Johnson, a Common Ground Science teacher. “Science moves at a fast pace and it’s hard to keep up. It will be great to have two working science labs.”
Elm City College Preparatory will use the grant money to install additional sprinklers. And the $500,000 that Amistad Academy will receive will compensate for debt. The principals of both schools could not be reached for comment.
Other schools that will receive grants include Integrated Charter Day School in Norwich, Side By Side Charter School in South Norwalk, The Bridge Academy in Bridgeport, Interdistrict School for Arts and Communication in New London, Exploration in Winsted and Jumoke Academy in Hartford.
The Bond Commission on Friday also is expected to approve $111,700 for improvements to the Marrakech Inc. group home in New Haven The work will include repairs to the heating, ventilating and air conditioning system and roof, a statement from Rell’s office said.
Alexandra Sanders is a Register intern.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

It was most gratifying to read in your article that Common Ground High School is receiving a grant for a new science classroom, particularly at a time when the study of science is receiving less and less respect. Common Ground has a splendid reputation, framing its diverse curriculum from an ecological vantage point which is so critical as we face the future of our planet.

Thanks for the info!

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