Harding H.S. students protest school budget cuts

Posted: Updated:

A group of Harding High School students walked out of class Thursday and into Bridgeport's Morton Government Center to protest the lack of a state budget and its potential impact on city schools.

On Monday, the city mayor sent a letter to the district's superintendent warning that without state funds, city money allocated to the school system for the year will run out this weekend. The governor's office says city schools will receive full funding next week, even without a state budget, because they are part of a poorer Alliance District.

Dozens of students, seemingly unaware that funding would continue, decided to bring their fears to Mayor Joe Ganim.

"I think it's wonderful that this whole thing happened based on student initiative," says Howard Gardner, a member of the Bridgeport Board of Education. "I think it's a lesson in civic duty."

School administrators helped organize a police escort for safety concerns. 

District officials say that even with flat funding from the state, Bridgeport is in a bad position with a district that's been underfunded for decades.

Some adults joined the students in the march as well. Some handed out signs that read, "Fully fund our Bridgeport public schools."

Some adults at the protest partly blamed the mayor for the district's financial uncertainty, accusing him of being a poor supporter of education. A spokesperson for the mayor disagreed and says the protest would have been more effective on the steps of the State Capitol in Hartford.

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