Charter school gets the students it needed
Photo: Brian A. Pounds / Hearst Connecticut Media
BRIDGEPORT — The Bridge Academy reached its 280 student enrollment cap and won’t be losing any state revenue.
The charter school picked up 13 students since it announced two weeks ago it was more than a dozen students shy of its expected enrollment.
Tim Dutton, the schools director and one of its founders, said two of the students were new to the city, three were former Bridge students, one transferred from Kolbe Catheral High School and the rest came from various city schools.
The additional students were scattered across the grade seven through twelfth grade school.
“Some learned from the news article (in the Connecticut Post), some from us handing out fliers around town, some from a robocall, and probably the most from a Facebook ad,” Dutton said, adding everyone at the school is extremely relieved.
“For the coming year we will be doing a number of things to build our profile,” Dutton said.
The school has to report a headcount to the state within the next two weeks based on October 1 enrollment.
“We reached the 280 last Wednesday, then on Thursday we had two withdraw for issues with transportation,” Dutton said. As of Monday, the school was back up to 281.
Dutton said the school will accept student over its reimbursement limit to make sure it keeps a full enrollment.
One of the state’s oldest charter schools, The Bridge found itself with open spaces this fall for the first time in its 21 years.
For each student, the school gets $11,250 from the state to operate up to 280 students. Charter schools are public schools that run independent of local school board control. It’s enrollment is capped by the state. With full enrollment, The Bridge receives $3.15 million to operate.
If it did not get its expected enrollment, there would have been staffing cuts, Dutton said.
The Facebook page is new, something the school started when enrollment suddenly became an issue. In the past, the school has been able to rely on word of mouth and had a waiting list.
When the school started it was the first charter school in the city. Now there are six and many more appealing public school choices, including a brand new Harding High School, fully renovated Central High, Bridgeport Military Academy and Fairchild Wheeler Interdistrict Magnet high schools.