will get an extra $1.77 million from the state and a huge boost in tuition reimbursement rates for its magnet school under the new state budget and education reform package approved by the legislature.
The , a magnet school with an enrollment of about 725 students, will see its state per-pupil tuition reimbursement rate more than double under the legislative changes approved this week, from about $3,400 to $8,100.
In addition, in an effort to boost educational opportunities in lower performing districts, the state will give Meriden schools an extra $1.77 million in the 2012-2013 school year.
Those increases are significant and will stave off sharp cuts that were being mulled by administrators for next year, including closing some schools, to balance the , said Michael Grove, Meriden’s assistant school superintendent.
“We’re very happy because there was a lot riding on this for the district,” Grove said. “We’ve been working all year on this with our local politicians.”
The fate of the district's finances this year hinged on whether the state would give the school system extra money. The district had considered closing at least one school if the funds were not included.
The changes in the tuition reimbursement for students who attend the Thomas Edison magnet school will bring in an additional $2 million to the district.
Altogether, the extra state funding for next year will mean the district will be able to offer new programs and continue existing ones, aimed at improving student performance, Grove said.
Some of those programs will include providing all-day kindergarten in city elementary schools, tutoring initiatives and after-school study programs.
State representatives for Meriden lauded the legislative changes as a boon for the city that they helped shephard through the General Assembly.
"Our children’s education is the foundation of our future. I am extremely pleased with this outcome and the impact it will have in our communities,” said state Rep. Cathy Abercrombie.
“We made a strong statement about the need for early childhood education, reading success at a young age, and support for troubled schools,” said House Speaker Chris Donovan. “I’m also thrilled that we were able to help the Edison Magnet School and give Meriden students more opportunities for summer and after school enrichment programs. The plan we passed is smart, fair and bold, and will make a difference in the lives of our children.”