Milford schools share performance, demographics report

Principal Steve Gottlieb greets students as they arrive for the first day of class at Harborside Middle School, in Milford, Conn. Sept. 1, 2021.

Principal Steve Gottlieb greets students as they arrive for the first day of class at Harborside Middle School, in Milford, Conn. Sept. 1, 2021.

Ned Gerard / Hearst Connecticut Media

MILFORD — Milford schools spent $20,457 per student with total expenditures of $119 million for the 2019-20 school year, according to the recently released District Profile and Performance report.

Assistant Superintendent Amy Fedigan offered details from the report — which also listed the enrollment for that school year at 5,621 at the 16 schools — during this week’s Board of Education meeting.

“Performance and profile reports are always a year behind,” said Fedigan. “We are a little bit ahead of the state, and there’s just some information the state does not share yet. So if you were to go online, this is the most current one that you will be able to see.”

The District Profile and Performance Report provides general information about the district, including grade range, number of schools and programs, total enrollment and expenditures.

A closer look at the enrollment totals showed 2,899 males and 2,722 females, with 71.1 percent of the total student population as white and 12.2 percent Hispanic or Latino of any race. There are 157 students listed as English learners, 1,651 students are eligible to receive free or reduced-price meals, and there are 878 students with disabilities.

Throughout the school district, there are 423.6 general education teachers and instructors — with part-timers not counting as a full-time equivalent position and 16 being paraprofessional instructional assistants. The district has 80.2 special education teachers and instructors with 144.5 assistants. Nearly 99 percent of the teachers in the district are white followed by 0.5 percent being Hispanic or Latino of any race and Black or African American.

“This report should give us some fodder around equitable access to resources and outcomes,” said Superintendent Anna Cutaia. “Based on the resolution this board has adopted, our attention should really be on the opportunities that are given to our students of color.”

The report shows that 84 percent of Black or African American 11th grade students are enrolled in college and career readiness courses during high school, and in 12th grade, the percentage drops to 78.6 percent. There are 89 percent of 11th grade white students enrolled in the course, with 90.8 percent enrolled in 12th grade.

“If you go further into the report, you can take a look at what the college and career readiness are, and then you can see that we have hardly any staff members of color in the system,” Cutaia added. “I would put out the challenge to the board to take a look at those numbers and push us as we are talking in the future with measures, curriculum and policies and ask us the hard questions of how it is going to shrink the gap, between students of color and non.”

A district performance index is the average performance of students in the subject area such as English Language Arts, mathematics or science on the state assessment.

“There’s a caveat because due to the widespread school closures due to COVID, Connecticut’s request for a waiver was granted,” said Fedigan. “That’s why there is no performance index. We administered the assessment, but the accountability waiver was granted.”

Fedigan said the district is sharing presentations at PTA meetings to promote awareness of new initiatives and programs to continue improving parent partnership with the district.

It is also staying committed to promoting acceptance of all people regardless of their race, ethnicity and economic status. And finally, she said the school district is ensuring equitable allocation of resources among all of its schools.