Oct. 1, the day that major spending cuts to cities and towns automatically went into effect, has come and gone with very little fanfare after Gov. Dannel P. Malloy vetoed the state budget adopted by the Connecticut General Assembly.
Now education leaders may be left to deal with the dramatic shortfalls in their state allotment. Granted, the state’s poorest cities are protected; New Britain, for example, will see no cuts in its education budget. But Plymouth, as Bristol Press reporter Susan Corica told us Sunday, expects to lose all of its $9.7 million in Education Cost Sharing. That’s 40 percent of the current year’s budget and will likely mean teacher layoffs.
Complicating the issue is a state Supreme Court ruling, issued a year ago, that says Connecticut’s system of education oversight and aid to local schools fell short of the state constitution’s guarantee of an adequate education, and ordered changes. It was in response that Gov. Dannel P. Malloy proposed the state redirect $300 million in education aid from middle- and high-income communities to the 30 most impoverished districts.
Not surprisingly, many legislators balked at cutting their districts’ allotments by so much, or at all – and this standoff is part of the reason the state still has no budget for the fiscal year that began nearly 90 days ago.
We believe every child, whether rich or poor, deserves a good education as the first step toward becoming a productive citizen. And Connecticut needs quality education if it is going to remain competitive in attracting and retaining businesses - businesses that rely on well-educated workers.
As we see it, it’s time to put individual interests aside and come together to strengthen every Connecticut school.