The following is a statement on behalf of Capital Preparatory Charter School Middletown in partnership with CTCSA.

Hartford, CT – As legislators work through their final negotiations on the biennial state budget, a clandestine effort to remove one of three new public charter schools has put hundreds of students’ futures at risk. A pair of legislators put forth a last-minute attempt to remove Capital Preparatory Middletown from the budget, despite multiple stages of approval that led to this point.

After a months-long, public process, the State Board of Education approved the initial certification for Capital Preparatory Charter School Middletown in March, before the Appropriations Committee allocated funding for the new school in its proposed budget. Now, with just days remaining in the legislative session, an effort to remove the school from the budget runs contrary to the entire process that preceded it.

“Families in the Middletown community went above and beyond throughout this process to demonstrate just how sorely needed a new charter school was in Middletown,” said Dr. Steve Perry, Founder and Head of Capital Prep Schools. “After actively engaging in community meetings, public hearings, and conversations with elected officials, Middletown residents are seeing a politically-motivated, back-room deal threatening what they’ve fought so hard to achieve for their children. An attempt to remove the school from the budget is a troubling symptom of a systemically racist system that is not built for all.”

Opposition to the opening of a new charter school in Middletown has hinged on misguided ideas of its financial impact on the district as a whole and a disregard for the needs of Black and brown students in the district. As one of 33 Alliance Districts across the state, Middletown cannot receive fewer dollars from the state’s Education Cost Sharing formula than it did in the previous year. The proposed Middletown charter school has been established throughout the approval process as a unique educational option for struggling students that would not disrupt the resources Middletown public schools already receive. 

“Lawmakers must ensure that funding for Capital Prep Middletown remains in the budget so that families have options when it comes to their children’s education,” Capital Prep Middletown’s Board Chair Yvette Highsmith-Francis added. “The late-stage decisions behind closed doors of a few legislators should not threaten the ability to meet the needs of underserved Black and Latino students who are waiting on this life-changing opportunity.”

Demand for new public school options in Middletown mirrors that of cities across the state where public charter schools have shown proven value, especially to vulnerable districts. Middletown’s poverty rate exceeds that of neighboring counties and the state as a whole, a population Connecticut’s charter schools have proven to serve well. Capital Preparatory Schools was founded in the spirit of social justice and focused on the notion that a child’s zip code, race, and economic status should not define their ability to achieve. Since its first graduating class in 2006, all seniors across Capital Prep’s three schools in Connecticut and New York have been accepted to four-year colleges or universities.