The Register had a very positive story in it today about New Haven’s Engineering and Science University Magnet School and the University of New Haven (UNH) joining forces to relocate the school near the UNH campus in West Haven. However, there are a few things about the whole thing that leave me scratching my head.
I find the timing interesting, because according to the Register “the exact location of the new school and the timeframe for it being built are still unknown.” Those are two biggies in terms of missing information. The idea for this magnet school has been limping along for about five years now. The majority of funding for the school will come from the state because it is a magnet school. Is the project in danger of losing the funding because there has been no progress over the past few years? Perhaps they are hoping this news will jump start the project and move it forward? I can’t answer these questions, or any others because no one was allowed to ask any questions at the announcement ceremony.
This leads me to what I find most troubling about the whole affair. Mayor Picard shared no details about the project with our City Council and Board of Education prior to the announcement. In fact, I’ve been told that most of the BOE members, as well as Superintendent of Schools Neil Cavallaro, were so upset by being left in the dark that they boycotted the event. I find it to be an utter lack of leadership on Mayor Picard’s part not to have briefed these two groups.
How can a magnet school be built in West Haven where a quarter of its student population will be from West Haven and our City Council and BOE know nothing of the details and are blindsided by the announcement ceremony? It is an embarassing and unprofessional way to conduct our city’s business.