Governor Malloy’s budget provides no additional state funding for major local educational expenses like special education and school transportation.
Meanwhile, Connecticut’s Education Funding Formula (ECS) is approximately $2 billion underfunded meaning the costs of funding local schools are being unfairly, and arguably illegally, shifted on to the backs of local property taxpayers. The result is that school budgets are hurting, teachers are being let go, class sizes are increasing and there are more and more reports of cut-backs in school programs and services.
Funding problems continue to mount. Although early childhood education is by far one of the single most effective investments when it comes to ensuring better academic outcomes, as the CT Mirror reported late last month, “The U.S. Department of Education has rejected Connecticut’s request for $37.5 million in Race to the Top funds aimed at overhauling day care centers and preschools by attempting to ensure they are safe and providing educational value.”
The story explains that one of the grant reviewers wrote, “The State does not present a High Quality Plan to improve the effectiveness and retention of Early Childhood Educators who work with Children with High Needs…”
Yet Governor Malloy’s ill-conceived “education reform” initiatives and the new Common Core standards and standardized testing mandate will require local communities to spend tens of millions of dollars of additional dollars that they do not have.
Unable to increase local property taxes sufficiently, the warped education strategy that has been developed by Malloy and his Commissioner of Education, Stefan Pryor, will continue to mean that many communities will face higher property taxes while actually being forced to reduce their education programs so they can shift scarce resources away from student instruction and toward implementing the new Common Core tests and the absurd new teacher evaluation program.
But leave it to Governor Malloy and his administration to figure out a way to make the situation even worse.
Rather than provide the necessary resources, fight the new Common Core Testing madness and repeal the damaging impact of his corporate education reform industry plan, Malloy is pulling out the state’s credit card and ordering “computers, tablets and other electronic devices in order to meet the requirements of Common Core.”
With what could only be called misplaced pride or hubris, Governor Malloy has directed the State’s Bond Commission to borrow $22,619,148 for Common Core equipment.
The Malloy Administration writes, “All capital purchases meet the Smarter Balanced Technology Strategy Framework and System Requirements Specifications to ensure that local districts are test-ready. [The new Common Core testing scheme that will make an appearance in many Connecticut towns this year, and are mandated for all students next year, can only be conducted on computers. This requirement will force many towns to divert funds away from other far more important priorities in order to purchase computers that meet the “Smarter Balanced Technology Strategy Framework and System Requirements Specifications.”]
The ultimate cost that communities will have to pay to purchase Common Core computers and software, as well as expand internet capabilities, will be significantly more than the money that is being provided by state of Connecticut.
Oh, and in one final twist, the Connecticut General Assembly actually approved $25 million for the new computers but the Malloy administration is only allocating $22.6 million.
One can only assume that the other $2.4 million is being “reserved” just in case Malloy and Stefan Pryor need those additional funds to help “persuade” a particular district to take some action, reward a friendly mayor or two or help grease the skids when it comes to this year’s gubernatorial politics
The $22.6 million borrowing plan is part of the State Bond Commission agenda that will be taken up at this Thursday’s Bond Commission meeting.
CT Newsjunkie has an excellent article about some of the other projects the Malloy administration is seeking to fund this week. The piece can be found at: State Bond Commission Looks To Borrow More Money For Job Creation