Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. School Renovation Plan Gets Hartford Board Of Ed Approval – Hartford Courant

The $68 million revival of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. School is back on track after the city board of education endorsed new plans Tuesday night that will be sent to the state for approval.

After working with the state for weeks on the proposal, Superintendent Leslie Torres-Rodriguez expressed confidence that King, a hulking symbol of educational inequity on a hill in north Hartford, will finally be renovated after years of broken promises.

“When our students come into a building and things are falling apart … they think that that’s all they’re worth,” board member Juan Hernandez said in the elementary school’s auditorium, where spectators sat in broken seats with ripped, faded cushions. The space, frigid on a warm evening, smelled of mildew.

Board member Richard Wareing said King represented the “institutional neglect of our schools.” Despite school overhauls and stunning magnet schools in other neighborhoods, the district said the once-grand, Collegiate Gothic building just west of Keney Park has not received a major renovation since it opened in the 1920s, originally as a high school.

City school leaders and parents who have seen rodents scurrying inside have decried the facility conditions as deplorable and unsafe for children. More than 300 students attend the pre-K-to-grade-8 school named after the civil rights hero, and will remain in the Ridgefield Street building for at least another year, according to the proposal.

Vanessa de la Torre / Hartford Courant

If all goes as planned, the new King could reopen by fall 2020.

Just months ago, the proposed renovation had seemed all but buried. The state shelved the project last year amid a budget crunch, leaving unanswered questions about the school’s fate.

Talks continued behind the scenes. Still, Torres-Rodriguez said she was as surprised as anyone when, in a recent conversation about the renovation of Weaver High School in north Hartford, the state suggested it could cover the vast majority of the King project costs up to 95 percent if Hartford agreed to include a Sheff magnet school, Breakthrough II, inside a revamped King campus.

Vanessa de la Torre / Hartford Courant

Since then, city school officials have been dashing to submit a revised proposal to the state school construction grants office so it could be included as a priority bonding project in the state budget package, whenever it is passed. The legislature has been deadlocked on the budget that carries high stakes for Hartford as the city tries to avoid bankruptcy.

The educational details that the school board approved Tuesday include the big picture: a 800-student campus that would feature a reimagined King Middle School but also include Breakthrough II, an elementary magnet created under the Sheff v. O’Neill desegregation pact. The schools, with 400 students each, would have separate entrances but share common areas such as the cafeteria and media center.

Unlike many Greater Hartford magnet schools, Breakthrough II, which would be renamed Breakthrough North, has gone without a gleaming school facility. Located in a former neighborhood school in north Hartford, the magnet has struggled over the years to attract enough white and Asian students from the suburbs to be counted as integrated.

The King project would take about three years to finish, including a year of planning. Costs would likely exceed the original $68 million price tag, a state construction official told city residents last month.

More broadly, a King middle school would be a key piece of the consolidation puzzle as the city school system facing long-term fiscal uncertainty and dwindling enrollment plans for a future with fewer Hartford schools, Torres-Rodriguez said. The district’s elementary programs currently serve pre-K to eighth grade, a strain on diminishing resources.

If King is reconfigured to accept middle-schoolers from seven neighborhood schools in north Hartford and the Asylum Hill area, that could make it is easier to merge certain elementary schools.

One of Torres-Rodriguez’s chief concerns is keeping families invested in the Hartford schools. With King, she sees a middle-school pathway, built on educational best practices, that could then take students to the modernized Weaver for high school.

The King renovation would maintain the building’s historic architecture. But much of the inside would be demolished, except for the school auditorium.

A hope is that the project could spur neighborhood revitalization, too. “This is not only about the school and education,” Jose Colon-Rivas, the district’s chief operating officer, said at a recent meeting. “It goes above and beyond.”

See the original post here:

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. School Renovation Plan Gets Hartford Board Of Ed Approval – Hartford Courant

Related Post

June 21, 2017   Posted in: Martin Luther King |

Fair Use Disclaimer

"Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances."

Under the 'fair use' rule of copyright law, an author may make limited use of another author's work without asking permission. Fair use is based on the belief that the public is entitled to freely use portions of copyrighted materials for purposes of commentary and criticism. The fair use privilege is perhaps the most significant limitation on a copyright owner's exclusive rights.

Fair use as described at 17 U.S.C. Section 107:

"Notwithstanding the provisions of section 106 and 106A, the fair use of a copyrighted work, including such use by reproduction in copies or phono-records or by any other means specified by that section, for purposes such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching (including multiple copies for classroom use), scholarship, or research, is not an infringement of copyright.

In determining whether the use made of a work in any particular case is a fair use the factors to be considered shall include:

  • (1) the purpose and character of the use, including whether such use is of a commercial nature or is for or nonprofit educational purposes,
  • (2) the nature of the copyrighted work,
  • (3) the amount and substantiality of the portion used in relation to the copyrighted work as a whole, and
  • (4) the effect of the use upon the potential market for or value of the copyrighted work."