August 14, 2019
Contact: Carolina Bortolleto

Bridgeport Parents and Students React to Mayor Ganim’s Reversal

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, Aug 14th, 2019
Contact: Carolina Bortolleto | Carolina.bortolleto@maketheroadct.org | 203-942-3052

Bridgeport Parents and Students React to Mayor Ganim’s Reversal on Increasing Student Walking Distances to School

It's time that the City of Bridgeport prioritizes our students' safety, health and education

Bridgeport, CT-- On Monday, Bridgeport Mayor Ganim sent a letter to Schools Interim Superintendent Michael Testani asking for a reversal of a school board decision to extend walking distances to 1.5 miles for elementary and middle school students and 2.25 miles for high schoolers in the City of Bridgeport.

The decision to extend the walking distances was taken earlier this year to save the City $1.4 million in school costs. In May, the Mayor approved the City Budget, giving the Bridgeport School District only a $1.33 million increase. Now the mayor is saying the distances are an extreme burden and a safety concern.

Flor Huerta, Bassick High School Student and Make The Road CT Youth Power Committee Member: “Its nice that the Mayor wants the City to reverse its decision to increase walking routes. But it's not enough. We’ve done the research, 82% of street segments that students use to walk to school received a failed F grade due to safety. The basic problem we face as students is not only that our walks to school are too long, but that they are unsafe. We have to walk through unsafe interactions and broken sidewalks, girls report a high amount of harassment. When students as young as elementary school have to walk up to a mile and a half, it sends a message that our City does not prioritize our safety, our health, or our education. We’re being set up for failure.

Well, I want better for the students in my school and for the next generation. That’s why for years Make the Road has been working on our “walking to a brighter future” campaign. Last month, we met with Mayor Ganim and presented to him our research and petitions in support of safe walking routes to school. The Mayor committed to discussing funding for public transportation for students and committed to supporting Streetscapes that promote student safety. If city officials are truly committed to make the next generation better, they need to listen to us. We want better. We need better. And we need it now!”

 

Yorelys Cardenas, Luis Muñoz Marin Elementary School parent and Make The Road CT Member; “Decisions are being made that impact families across the whole district. We are disappointed that many parents are just now hearing about the changes in school busing from the City when school starts in two weeks. Students and parents should be informed of the negotiations the mayor is having with bus company and where the funds for our school district are going. As parents, we are tired of the smoke and mirrors we often see and demand full transparency from City officials.

Across the district, parents like myself with Make the Road have been involved during the City Budget process, going to City Council public hearings and making our voices heard. Time and time again we told City Officials that as parents we know what’s best for students. We learned that our voices and our experiences matter. And we’re going to keep making sure that the City hears our voices. We need to work to make our student’s experiences in the Bridgeport School System better.”

 

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Make the Road Connecticut works to support immigrants to be active in their communities and to lift themselves out of poverty through legal and support services, civic engagement, transformative education and policy innovation.

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