Mayor Art Ward said Friday it would be "very shortsighted" for the state to shut down the Bristol Technical Education Center in its quest to save money.
"The Bristol tech school was really starting to come into its own," Ward said, and deserves to remain open to educate young people and adults for whom learning a trade can be the ticket to a successful career.
The mayor said that given the country's manufacturing decline, it doesn't make sense to gut the educational institutions that can help turn the economy around. He said businesses need the school to help get the trained workers they need.
Ward said he understands the state's desire to trim spending, but doesn't believe that closing the school is the way to balance the budget.
The mayor said he's been at the school at least four times since taking office and seen firsthand how it helps some students develop hands-on skills that can turn them into tomorrow's plumbers and other tradespoeple.
"Not everybody's college oriented," Ward said, and it doesn't make sense to turn away those who need other options if they are to contribute as much as they can to society.
"We need the plumbers. We need the HVAC technicians," Ward said.
He said the school is the first step for many to get "a meaningful occupation" that can make them successful and productive members of the community.
Ward said he hopes the city's legislative delegation manages to keep funding for the school in the final budget, which is slated for adoption within days.
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