“It’s wonderful to see our state take such a courageous stance on education reform,” says Common Ground School Director Liz Cox on Connecticut’s education initiative. On May 9th, Connecticut House of Representatives unanimously passed the bill, which Malloy signed the bill into law on May 15th. Ms. Cox notes that the bill is a great accomplishment for all public schools — and for charter schools like Common Ground in particular. “No one has done anything this ambitious to address equitable charter funding in Connecticut.” State funding will increase by approximately $100 million, and allows charter funding to increase from its current $9400 to $11,500 by the 2014-2015 school year. The bill also funds new early childhood education sites, cuts district red tape, and created greater attention to educator support and evaluation.
As they pushed this larger reform effort, the Connecticut General Assembly also took action of enormous significance to the Common Ground community in particular. In the final days of the legislative session, the legislature passed a package of educational bond funding that included $4 million to support the construction of Common Ground’s new school building. From here, the $4 million bond allocation moves to the State Bond Commission, the final step before Common Ground can put these funds to use. This potential funding, building on a $1.5 million competitive grant from the State Department of Education and a growing number of private philanthropic commitments, brings Common Ground a large step closer to the start of construction. The new building and associated site improvements will allow Common Ground to welcome more students, offer state-of-the-art science facilities and improved art classrooms, model sustainability, double farm production, and welcome thousands more community members in our work.
Neither of these enormous accomplishments would have been possible without support from the New Haven delegation at the Connecticut General Assembly, whose members provide extraordinary leadership on so many issues. Nor would they have happened without the concerted efforts of so many members of the Common Ground community — including our students and their families — to speak up on our behalf. We are so grateful.