After months of fighting, students in East Hartford were closer to winning their battle to save Synergy High School on Wednesday night.
Dozens of people rallied last week outside of the town hall to save their school and took their message to town leaders.
“This family cannot be broken,” Angel Fontanez, a student, said.
He said the alternative high school turned his life around.
“If it wasn't for Synergy, I wouldn’t be successful. I wouldn’t be here right now. I would be in the hospital or in jail. The way I was going wasn’t pretty,” Fontanez said.
The Board of Education decided to shut it down starting next fall because of a budget crisis.
Students and teachers were planning to go elsewhere. The town council became alarmed and just announced it found $600,000 to keep Synergy’s doors open.
“The action that the council has promised tonight will ensure these programs will come to fruition next year,” Chairman Rich Kehoe said.
Council members said the district lost federal money and that forced the board to make the initial cuts.
The $600,000 should cover Synergy’s costs next school year and then the federal funding would kick in again. The East Hartford Board of Education would have the final say when it comes to Synergy’s fate.
“Obviously the council doesn’t dictate how we spend the funds,” Jeffrey Currey, of the Board of Education, said.
Now that the extra funds are there, Synergy might not close after all, but there’s no guarantee.
“The board will take a long hard look at the cut list that and look at possibly reversing some of those cuts,” Currey said.
The town should finalize the budget on Tuesday night.
The school board can then start to figure out if it will use that money to keep the school open. That decision might take weeks or even months to reach.