Opinion: We need a better solution to address overcrowding in Danbury schools

A rendering of the proposed Danbury Prospect Charter School.

A rendering of the proposed Danbury Prospect Charter School.

Contributed Photo

My name is Eva Jimenez and I am a proud member of LEAD (Latinos for Educational Advocacy and Diversity). I am a resident of Danbury who went through the public school system. I know firsthand many of the issues faced by our school.

I am writing today to urge the Danbury Democratic delegation to put politics aside and advocate for a more permanent solution to the problem of overcrowding in our city schools. I do understand that many decades of neglect and poor funding are to blame for the crisis we are experiencing today. To have an equitable solution that satisfies our future needs and provides another educational option to our parents, the Democratic delegation must end their opposition to the charter school we are working so hard to open.

I will be blunt and honest since I am not a politician. Some Board of Education members are losing credibility for their opposition to the charter school and their unwavering support of our Democratic delegation. This divides our community when we could all be working together and using all of our resources to ask for more equitable funding from both the city and the state. This blind opposition solely based on politics discredits many board members as they ask City Hall for more funding. It makes them seem like they only care about our children’s future if it fits their political party or ideology.

The majority of our community continues to support the opening of a charter school and our base grows every day. We have noticed that our delegation is willing to perish on an ideological hill that will turn the majority of Latinos against them. What we are witnessing is a blatant disregard for the needs of an entire minority community. Just because the delegation has gathered a handful of Latino leaders to oppose something they don’t even understand doesn’t mean that the majority of Latinos in Danbury do not support the charter school.

We ask for objective leaders such as state Rep. Raghib Allie-Brennan, D-Bethel, and state Rep. David Arconti, D-Danbury, to break ranks with state Sen. Julie Kushner, D-Danbury, state Rep. Bob Godfrey, D-Danbury, and state Rep. Ken Gucker, D-Danbury, and do what is right for the city of Danbury. We are in need of true leaders who, regardless of party politics, always put the needs of our community first. This is the right thing to do and it will go a long way with helping the crisis we are in. Once our school has the state funds to begin construction, we can then join forces and become partners to ensure Danbury has equitable funding from the state and the city.

If the Democratic party continues to allow our delegation to continue to put politics ahead of the needs of our students, there will be long-term and irreversible consequences. They will lose an entire community. A community that will soon become the majority in the city. We have suffered setbacks but our struggle is a long-term struggle and we won’t give up until we build our school and achieve true equity.

Eva Jimenez is a Danbury resident and member of member of Latinos for Educational Advocacy and Diversity.