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Bridgeport’s Hall School saved from closing

Linda Conner LambeckMay 14, 2019

BRIDGEPORT — Hall School will not be closed or merged with Edison School.

The school board voted 8-to-1 on Monday to exclude the closing from consideration as it looks to cut more than $10 million to balance the district’s 2019-2020 operating budget.

Board secretary Joe Sokolovic cast the lone negative vote, saying nothing should be taken off the table before the budget gap is sealed.

Watching on at the district’s Aquaculture School were a room full of 50 or more students, parents and staff from both Hall and Edison schools, who showed up in force to tell the board it would be a big mistake to cut a small school, where test scores and student attendance is rising.

The vote also represented a reversal for Board Vice Chair Jessica Martinez, who at a school finance meeting last week said with such tough cuts to make her mind was made up. Monday she said she didn’t realize that by closing Hall it would lose its Turnaround Arts status — a national designation that provides the school with resources, field trip opportunities and architect Thomas Mayne as a mentor.

Board members Maria Pereira and Chris Taylor — opposites on many issues — both said they would not support any school closings as a means to close the budget gap.

The board will hold special meetings to reconcile the budget, which is getting millions less from the city and state than it needs to offer current services. Dates for those sessions have yet to be set.

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