NEW HAVEN, Conn. (WTNH) - It's a tradition in the Elm City. The Mayor, superintendent and other officials pick one school and make sure kids there feel really welcome on the first day back. In the back of everyone's minds, however, is how many districts are affected by the state budget crisis.
Students returned to the John C. Daniels School of International Communication with a warm welcome from city officials. Interim schools superintendent Dr. Reginald Mayo couldn't help but brag about recent success in the district. Last year New Haven had more kids graduate high school than ever before.
"Our goals in New Haven are to cut the dropout rate in half, to cut the achievement gap in half and to make sure that every student is prepared and financially able to go to college," Dr. Mayo said.
To find more bilingual educators this year, New Haven recruited people from Puerto Rico. One of the new hires is the new principal of the Daniels School, David Bonet
"We are working hard as a team to develop our students and develop our schools, to unify cultures," said Bonet.
While everybody is welcoming kids back and celebrating the beginning of the school year, there is kind of a dark cloud hanging over school districts all over the state of Connecticut this year, and that is the fact that there is no state budget for the state of Connecticut, and has not been for the past two months.
The state's fiscal year began July first with no budget in place. Governor Dannel Malloy carried out his threat to run the state by executive order, slashing funding in the process. He reorganized education funding so that half the school districts in the state will get no state education dollars. More than 50 had it slashed, all so the 30 neediest could still get their money. New Haven is among those 30.
"But it's really important for the people of the state of Connecticut that a budget be passed, so we're really calling upon the legislature to work with the governor to make sure the budget is passed," said Mayor Toni Harp, (D) New Haven.
Mayor Harp said New Haven needs a state budget in place because, even though New Haven is one of 30 districts still getting full education funding, New Haven relies on state money to pay for other things, and to help make up for the fact that so much of the city is owned by Yale or other tax-free entities.
If you've lost count, this is day 59 without a state budget.
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