Report by Paula Antolini
February 7, 2017 9:03PM EDT
Senator Toni Boucher Announces Plan to Restore Education Funding
By Toni Boucher
State Senator Toni Boucher (R-26) announced Tuesday, Feb. 7, that legislators have a plan to restore nearly $20 million in education money that Governor Dannel Malloy cut midyear from funding promised to municipalities. The proposal also eliminates the projected budget deficit for the current fiscal year.
“When we passed the state budget, we made a promise to each community that they would receive a set amount of education funding to incorporate into their budgets,” Sen. Boucher said. “Leaders in my district were shocked to learn midway through the year that they would lose as much as 50 percent of their state funding. To throw municipalities a curve ball like that is simply unacceptable.”
The plan backed by the General Assembly’s Senate and House Republicans would use budget cuts to restore $18.9 million in Education Cost Sharing (ECS) money that was cut on December 29. The cuts also eliminate the $11.9 million budget deficit estimated by the nonpartisan Office of Fiscal Analysis.
Sen. Boucher said legislators hope to take action on the proposal quickly to minimize the damage the Governor’s cuts have had on school districts this year. She added that legislators have yet to see the Governor’s budget proposal for the coming year.
“These actions are absolutely necessary, but only solve the issues with this year’s budget,” Sen. Boucher said. “We still have big problems to address for next year.”
During the past few weeks, the governor’s office has released bits and pieces of proposals to change the ECS funding formula, special education funding, and to require local communities to make payments to the teacher’s retirement fund, Sen. Boucher said. The measures indicate a trend to require local communities to assume more of the costs previously paid by the state.
“While the Governor drafts a budget proposal, the legislature still has a say in the final outcome,” she said.
Sen. Boucher represents the communities of Bethel, New Canaan, Redding, Ridgefield, Weston, Westport, and Wilton.