Television Ads Aim to Keep Students in Meriden School System

The Meriden Public School System is airing television advertisements, sending fliers to families and posting signs across the city in hopes of keeping students in the public school system.

Three television ads, which cost just under $10,000 and will run through the winter, remind students and parents that school starts Aug. 27 and touts the school system's offerings. They aim to keep more students from leaving Meriden to attend out-of-district magnet schools.

"We want people to feel good about our schools and we want people to people feel comfortable in sending their children to our schools, but we also know we’re in a competitive environment. This is about economics," said Meriden Supt. Mark Benigni.

School officials said the district has lost thousands of dollars footing the bill for students to attend magnet schools. Benigni said the district could save money in the long run by keeping students in Meriden.

"We went from $102,000 in 2013-2014 on expenses for these open choice magnets to this past year at $131,000," said Benigni.

Figures show 25 students who live in Meriden attend magnet schools other than Wintergreen Magnet and Thomas Edison, which are partners with the district.

Eighth-grade student Alejandro Aguilla called the Meriden school district "exceptional" and said he sees no reason to turn to a magnet school for his education.

"It’s the best education I’ve ever gotten in my life," he said.

About 9,000 students are enrolled in the Meriden School District.

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