HARTFORD, Conn. (WTNH) — Local elected officials, school representatives, faith leaders and families joined NAACP members on Monday to make a passioned plea to state legislators to keep funding for the proposed Capital Prep Charter School in Middletown in the state budget. 

“Many of our children in Middletown — brown and Black children — have been floundering in the system,” Bishop William McKissick said. “So, we want to find a way for them to be successful.”

McKissick was one of several people who spoke at the state capitol, urging legislators to keep funding in the state budget for charter schools. 

“There are some children who are not doing well, and all we want to do is put them on a successful track,” he said.  

Steve Perry, the founder of Capital Preparatory Schools, said there’s a disparity in the public school system, which makes schools like his crucial. 

“We are tired of our voices being ignored, we are tired of being muted,” Perry said. “We are tired of the backdoor skullduggery.”

Charter schools have proven to be a divisive issue in Connecticut and across the country. Supporters of charter schools argue that they give families an alternative to underfunded public district schools. Those against them say state money should only go to school districts.

A spokesperson for the Middletown Racial Justice Coalition released the following statement to News 8:

“The Middletown Racial Justice Coalition writes to urge you not to invest in Capital Prep Middletown, in which funding has recently been allocated through the general assembly’s appropriations budget, but to instead invest in ensuring that our Middletown Public Schools are fully funded and resourced in to eradicate racism, so that people of color do not feel their best option is to leave!” 

The bill now comes under consideration of the broader legislature.