Latinos for Educational Advocacy and Diversity know that the path to achieving the American dream is through access to a quality education that prepares our children with the skills they need to be successful in the careers of their choice. Given the need to increase funding and opportunities across the board in Danbury Public Schools, why did State Sen. Julie Kushner vote to block a bill that would provide another $13 million in funding to our city’s schools?

When we heard about SB 948, a bill to address education funding and racial equity in Connecticut, we were ecstatic. This bill was championed by the Black and Puerto Rican Caucus as well as co-sponsored by our very own Danbury Rep. David Arconti. We thank Representative Arconti for his leadership and for standing to invest in public education.

This bill is a step in the right direction in addressing fair funding and education equity as it would provide an immediate infusion of funding for the state’s neediest students and schools. SB 948 would help reduce Connecticut’s racial funding disparity gap by 66 percent (or $419 million). In addition, the bill would increase the ECS formula’s English Learner weight from 15 percent to 25 percent, which would provide funding to districts for equitable learning opportunities for English Learners.  Most of all, this bill would provide an additional $13 million for Danbury Public Schools starting in 2022. Under the current system, Danbury is not even close to getting this level of funding until 2030.

Fortunately, on March 22 , SB 948 was voted out of committee 34-4 with overwhelming bi-partisan support. Senator Kushner was the only Democrat to join three Republicans in voting against SB 948 and has not explained why she voted against the bill.  She voted against 11,000 Black and Latino charter school students receiving equitable funding and she voted against Danbury Public School students receiving $13 million in funding.

To be very clear: this bill would not provide funding for a charter school in Danbury. It was merely a shot in the arm for our public schools. In the last year, Senator Kushner has prioritized her political ideology over the needs of students — first by blocking the charter school our community has been championing, then by supporting the busing of young Danbury students out of Danbury for their public education,  and now she is voting against a much-needed funding increase for the state’s highest-need districts. Families like ours deserve representation. Students in Danbury deserve representation.

It’s time for Senator Kushner to vote on behalf of students and families and stop voting against them.

LEAD Executive Team; Maria Matos, Carlota Suing Chin, Elizabeth Quinonez, Nancy Carlsen, Gabriela Perez, Gabriela Ramon, Elmer Palma, Juana Quesada, Julie Miliano, Gloria Castillo, Jose PImentel, Sandra Ferreira-Molina

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