Teachers, community leaders hold rally to protest closing of Hartford’s MLK School

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HARTFORD --  Concerned parents and community leaders say that promises of renovations being made to Martin Luther King School have been going on for decades, but each time the money goes elsewhere.  This year was no different, and now students are being forced to relocate to the basement of a public charter school.

At 12:45 pm, a news conference was held at Martin Luther King School,  where Hartford teachers, city council members, and NAACP Hartford Chapter President Imam Abdul-Shahid Muhammed Ansari voiced their concerns over this move and the promised renovations to the school that were scrapped once again, due to cited budget problems.

Martin Luther King School was supposed to close in June for renovations. And the parents of more than 350 students, although reluctantly, agreed to use swing space in the basement of Achievement First for three years until the project was complete.

According to the Hartford Courant,  Mayor Luke Bronin reversed his decision to renovate the school, because of the city’s financial problems. However, the Mayor’s office and Hartford Public Schools are still requiring students to relocate to Achievement First in the absence of a long term plan.

Parents and community leaders checked out the proposed basement location, and discovered that it was too small, lacked adequate bathrooms, had no PA system or windows in the classrooms, and that it simply was not a fair option for students.

Meantime Hartford Public Schools have cited the current condition of the school as a reason to close it, but for now it remains open and is expected to operate for summer school.

Additionally, opponents say the district has not followed approved policy for closing a school, which requires public hearings, a comprehensive report on the factors for the closure, and a vote by the board of education.

Concerned parties say this school has been neglected for far too long. And that having the students move to another school’s basement with no long term plan disgraceful.