Report by Paula Antolini
August 22, 2017 10:59PM EDT
Sen. Boucher: ‘Governor’s Education Cuts the Latest Dagger Into the Heart of Connecticut’
August 20, 2017
Last week, educators and students from throughout the state held a press conference to say that the lack of a state budget and uncertainty about education funding had put teacher hiring and training on hold. School districts did not know how much funding, if any, they would receive from the state.
On Friday, Governor Malloy announced a new executive order that would eliminate state funding to 85 of the state’s 169 school districts. Fifty-four school districts would have their state funding reduced by up to 80 percent. The remaining 30 lowest-performing school districts would receive the same amount of state funding as they did last year.
The cuts Governor Malloy intends will have a devastating impact on Connecticut schools, which once were the best in the country. It will be like driving a dagger into the heart of our state, particularly our children and their future.
In the 26th State Senatorial District that I represent, 100 percent of state education funding has been cut. The Town of Bethel, which received more than $8 million in state education aid will not see a dime under the Governor’s executive order. That is outrageous!
It isn’t just my district. This map from CT Mirror https://ctmirror.org/2017/08/18/state-school-aid-how-does-your-town-fare-under-malloys-plan/ shows how many communities will lose most, if not all of their state funding.
I have told you that Senate Republicans have proposed a budget with a new Education Cost Sharing (ECS) formula. Unlike the formula previously proposed by the Governor, our ECS formula actually increases education spending by $33 million in 2018 and $136 million in 2019. It takes into consideration students receiving free and reduced-priced lunch, English-language learners, relative wealth, and need. We also address the special education needs of the state’s students.
The legislature could use the Senate Republican budget, particularly our new ECS formula as a starting point to create a new state budget. We could draft and adopt a new budget now, before Governor Malloy’s education cuts take effect. We can do this if we are ready to put aside our political differences and do the work the State of Connecticut desperately needs us to do.
I know I sound like a broken record. That is because passing a responsible budget that properly funds education for all Connecticut students is so important.
Right here, right now, I am ready to do the work that I was elected to do. I fear that if we do not act, if we allow these cuts to take place, we may not be able to fix the damage to our state.
State Senator Toni Boucher represents the 26th State Senatorial District, which includes the communities of Bethel, New Canaan, Redding, Ridgefield, Weston, Westport, and Wilton.