Hartford School Board To Vote Friday On Magnet School Contract
By VANESSA DE LA TORRE
February 29, 2012
HARTFORD — — The board of education has decided to vote Friday on Hartford's proposed five-year contract to manage Great Path Academy at Manchester Community College.
Four board members approved scheduling the vote after hearing more about staffing, student discipline and enrollment at the grade 10-12 magnet high school from Superintendent Christina Kishimoto and MCC President Gena Glickman during a special meeting Tuesday night.
The board voted last week to table a decision on the contract until the next regular board meeting on March 20. But administrators stressed the need for a quicker resolution so that Hartford can begin making employment offers to the Great Path principal and teachers, who currently work for the Capitol Region Education Council.
"I would love to make no staffing changes," Kishimoto said.
CREC has stated it will help with the transition despite a lingering dispute with MCC and Glickman over the selection process. The agency, which competed against Hartford for the contract, has managed Great Path since 2004.
Board Chairman Matthew Poland, Mayor Pedro Segarra and board Vice Chairwoman Lori Hudson said this week that they support the contract. Board member Richard Wareing, who has been skeptical of the proposal, said he felt positive after receiving additional information from Kishimoto.
"I'll sleep on it," Wareing said.
Four board members who were absent from the latest meeting will get an audio recording of the discussion to prepare for Friday's 12:15 p.m. contract vote at 260 Constitution Plaza.
Elizabeth Brad Noel has abstained from voting because she sits on Great Path's governing board, but pressed administrators Tuesday on how Hartford and MCC would deal with student discipline. CREC has complained about the arrests of students by MCC campus police.
Glickman said she can recall fewer than a half-dozen arrests in recent years for serious offenses such as attacking a teacher. Kishimoto told the board she wants to avoid police incidents and would look to implement a strategy of positive behavioral intervention.
School officials also spoke of adding ninth grade to boost marketing and increase enrollment, which MCC revealed Tuesday has dropped from 247 students at the start of the school year to 214. The loss of 33 students includes Hartford residents who attended the magnet school under the Sheff desegregation agreement.
Glickman said some teenagers underestimate the rigor of a "middle college" high school before enrolling at Great Path, where students can take two tuition-free MCC courses per semester.
School funding comes from a $10,443 state grant for each student and an extra $3,300 in per-student tuition from school districts that send teens to Great Path.
Reprinted with permission of the Hartford Courant.
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