- Associated Press - Wednesday, April 2, 2014

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) - The Connecticut State Board of Education has approved four new charter schools, including two in the state’s largest city, Bridgeport, and one each in Stamford and New Haven.

“The applicants presented comprehensive and financially viable models for what we expect will be highly successful environments for student achievement,” State Board of Education Chairman Allan Taylor said in a statement announcing the decision Wednesday night.

The new schools include the Great Oaks Charter School in Bridgeport, which will specialize in students learning English, and Capital Prep Harbor School, modeled after Hartford’s Capital Prep Magnet School, which seeks to prepare students for college and community involvement.

Bridgeport Mayor Bill Fitch said he was “thrilled” the state approved the schools.

The Stamford Charter School for Excellence will be modeled after the Bronx Charter School for Excellence in New York City. It will focus also on students learning English and those will special needs and lower family financial resources.

The Booker T. Washington Academy in New Haven will focus on students living in poverty, particularly in the city’s Dixwell/NewHallville neighborhoods.

Charter school opponent Lindsay Farrell, executive director of the Connecticut Working Families Party, said the board decision was disappointing. Farrell said charter schools drain resources from other public schools.

“We don’t need a school system of ‘Haves’ and ‘Have-Nots,’” Farrell said.

Connecticut has 18 state charter schools, serving more than 7,000 students who make up about 1.3 percent of public school student enrollment.

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