As a lifelong Danbury resident, I am compelled to respond to the recent piece about Faith Acts’ plea for Governor Lamont to fund our schools equitably. While Faith Acts primarily operates in Bridgeport and New Haven, Danbury struggles with the same issues of school segregation they work to address.
We see the same inequity when looking at how much neighboring towns such as Bethel, New Fairfield or Ridgefield are spending per pupil compared to Danbury. When looking at these disparities, it is hard to overlook that Danbury schools largely serve students of color.
This begs the question: Why are we okay with underfunding these groups of children? As a Danbury Public School graduate, I experienced first hand the feeling of helplessness that came from knowing that our school system was struggling and feeling like nothing was being done to fix it. I remember learning from outdated, tattered textbooks and recall with sorrow when our liberal arts department was cut due to lack of funding. Danbury is an amazing city and we have great teachers, but they are underfunded and overwhelmed by overcrowding, especially our high school.
My plea to Gov. Ned Lamont is this: include Danbury Prospect Charter school in your proposed 2021-22 budget and give Danbury families the gift of a new school. Governor, you should allow our Black and brown students to receive the same level of education that students in neighboring, more affluent towns receive.
Our community has been loud and clear. Danbury needs and wants a new tuition-free school with international curricula and a diverse teaching staff. We want a school that reflects our students.
Danbury Prospect Charter School will fulfill those needs and is ready to open this fall. All we need is for Governor Lamont to listen to his constituents and include this amazing opportunity in his budget.
Gabriela Perez is a community organizer in Danbury.