At a time when Connecticut’s students, parents and educators need and deserve adequate funding for the state’s public schools, Governor Dannel Malloy has proposed the most drastic cuts to public education in Connecticut history.
In testimony last week before the Connecticut General Assembly, the Connecticut Coalition for Justice in Education Funding [CCJEF] identified the most serious problems with Malloy’s plan to slash funding for public schools in Connecticut.
As CCJEF explain, Malloy’s outrageous proposal,
Reduces overall state support for K-12 public education by at least $364 million
Zeroes out or reduces ECS funding to 131 municipalities/school districts.
The $428 million cut in ECS is justified by a fictional special education proxy that has no basis in per district special education student counts or expenses.
Lowers the ECS foundation amount from $11,525 to $8,999 for FY 18 and thereafter, but increases per pupil funding for charter schools from $11,000 to $11,500. [The ECS foundation amount in FY 08 was $9,687.]
Changes the student need factor in ECS from eligibility for Free and Reduced-Price Lunch to students eligible for HUSKY A medical benefits and lowers the student need multiplier in the formula from 30% to 20% in order to restrain district funding. [Note that undocumented immigrants are not eligible for HUSKY A medical benefits and that the Governor is also proposing to reduce eligibility for HUSKY A parents to 138% of poverty. About 9,500 parents will lose Medicaid under this proposal.] Student need should not be restricted to one proxy formula element but should represent the broad diversity of student needs in our state.
Zeroes out or reduces Special Education reimbursements to many municipalities/school districts and bases the 0 -54% reimbursement amount on a 5-year average of district Excess Cost reimbursements, not actual costs.
Imposes a new Teacher Retirement contribution mandate on all municipalities, regardless of wealth, equal to 1/3 of their teacher retirement costs. This new mandate is expected to cost municipalities $408 million in FY 18 and will increase every year thereafter. The Teachers’ Retirement System is a statutory construct outside of municipal/school district control. It is managed and controlled by the State.
The Governor’s education funding proposals will lower the State’s share of K-12 public education costs and increase the overreliance on the regressive local property tax to fund education.
Malloy’s proposal will lead to dramatic cuts in education programs and increased property taxes on the state’s middle income and working families – all while he continues his policy of coddling the rich.
The question now is whether the members of the Connecticut General Assembly will turn their backs on their constituents and do Malloy’s bidding or stand up to the bully and rewrite His proposed state budget.