Hartford Gets $5 Million Gates Grant

by Categorized: Christina Kishimoto, Schools Date:

The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, along with Hartford and state leaders, announced the big news on Wednesday — a $5 million, three-year financial push for Hartford to connect further with the Achievement First and Jumoke Academy charter schools.

If you’ve been following the charter school debate, you can imagine that the Hartford Federation of Teachers is not happy. Read comments from union President Andrea Johnson in my full story about the grant.

Perhaps the most striking news to Hartford parents is buried several pages into the school system’s grant proposal. Jumoke Academy, which is now managing Milner Elementary as part of the state Commissioner’s Network, is receiving Superintendent Christina Kishimoto’s support to manage two other city schools in the coming years.

Of course, the board of education will have to approve any sort of school management agreement. Board Chairman Matthew Poland told me that “it’s going to take work with the board, there’s no doubt about that, to make it happen.”

But clearly, the proposal appealed to the decision-makers at the Gates Foundation.

Hartford school officials did not specify the Jumoke proposal during Wednesday’s press conference at the state Capitol building. And this is how it was worded in the official press release about the grant: “Expand on the Jumoke Academy’s capacity to successfully manage and transform low-performing schools.”

Superintendent Christina Kishimoto announces the Gates Foundation grant. At left are school board Chairman Matthew Poland, state Rep. Andy Fleischmann of West Hartford and Jumoke Academy CEO Michael Sharpe. Photo by Vanessa de la Torre.

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