By NICHOLAS A. FISCHER and MARGARET MARY CURTIN
Published July 28. 2013 4:00AM Updated July 30. 2013 9:33PM
As we approach another school year, we have two decisions squarely in front of us: how important are the children in our community and what will we do to help them?
We pledge to provide the best possible education to all of our children so that they can graduate from high school, compete with students from across the country and at the same time aim to attend college, join the military, enroll in a trade school or enter the workforce.
We will make creative use of the city's great cultural assets and continue to build our student achievement upon a foundation of outstanding, diverse schools. The core of excellence is relevance, academic rigor, innovative and engaging instruction and a diverse staff that challenges all students to reach their potential. We believe that parental involvement adds greatly to student success.
We must provide students with the skills and knowledge they need so that they emerge from New London Public Schools prepared to lead successful lives as adults.
To accomplish this, we must offer our staff first-rate professional development opportunities and supply each student with the highest quality resources to align with the Common Core State Standards.
In addition to providing an education for our children, we are required every year to meet increasing costs. While we carefully commit our general fund expenses year after year, we cannot continue to rely on consistent annual funds from state and federal grant monies.
We currently receive 50 percent in funding from the state, 34 percent in funding from the city, 15 percent in funding from the federal government and about 1 percent in funding from private sources.
For more information, we invite you to look at our line-by-line budget that is available online at www.newlondon.org.
Our elementary schools receive $6,920 per student, the middle school receives $8,545 and the high school receives $10,077. For some programs, such as special education or English Language Learners, the amount will be higher at each level.
We spend about $2,000 less than what most cities spend on each child in a public school system.
We must all support our transition as we improve the quality of instruction for all students and move to an all magnet school district. This will make our city an education destination for the region's school children.
By becoming a regional education destination, we will increase the number of students within our district and in turn, increase the money available to serve students individually. Our ability to provide better, personalized services and materials to each child will increase exponentially.
We are already benefitting from our investment in our two newest elementary magnet schools, Winthrop Elementary STEM Magnet School and Nathan Hale Magnet Elementary School for Performing and Visual Arts. This magnet strategy has allowed the City of New London to benefit from the state's generous 95 percent magnet reimbursement to help fund our elementary magnet school building costs.
Unequivocally, we believe we have a bright future. We can accomplish great things in New London, for our students, our families and the entire community. But we know we cannot do it alone. Our students thank you for your support and will make us all proud.
Nicholas A. Fischer is the New London superintendent of schools, Margaret Mary Curtin the president of the Board of Education.