Just a few weeks ago, Bridgeport, Windham and other school districts cheered when the Legislature approved and Governor Malloy signed legislation that allocates an additional $98 million as part of the new “education reform” act.
Of that, Bridgeport will be receiving at least $4 million more in state funds while Windham will collect at least $800,000. Depending on how the Malloy Administration approaches the creation of the new “Commissioner’s Network” system, the towns may receive significantly more.
So what is the first thing that Paul Vallas (Bridgeport’s $229,000 part-time interim superintendent) and Steve Adamowski (Windham’s $225,000 “Special Master”) do?
They dump Connecticut teachers and school personnel, while hiring more and more out-of-state consultants and directing contracts to out-of- state businesses.
The numbers are hard to track but between the two towns alone, we’re talking about more than 50 Connecticut residents, people who, for the most part went to Connecticut’s colleges and universities, and then stayed here in Connecticut to help strengthen Connecticut’s schools.
This has nothing to do with getting rid of the ineffective teachers.
This is about out-of- touch administrators who are pocketing a quarter of a million dollars each, and then using the additional taxpayer funds in such a way as to take care of friends and colleagues at the expense of Connecticut’s economy, Connecticut residents, and in this case, the quality of services provided to Connecticut’s students.
And let’s understand the context.
Connecticut’s latest “jobs numbers” will be out soon. Last month, the Malloy Administration focused on the positive news that unemployment remained at 7.7 percent, down 1.3 percent over the past year.
Using that strange, virtually nonsensical, “government financial speak,” the Connecticut Department of Labor reported that, “employment estimates show Connecticut continues to experience reversal from strong winter job growth in April by a decline of 4,100 total nonfarm jobs even while the unemployment rate held steady at 7.7%…. Despite variability in growth from month to month we still appear to be on a path of positive, albeit modest job growth.”
In the fine print came the news that Connecticut’s local governments dropped an additional 1,300 jobs last month. In fact, 8,000 jobs have been cut at the state and local government level over the past year.
While the United States is up over 2,000,000 jobs since May 2011, Connecticut’s “aggressive job growth” policy has translated into a new loss of 2,300 jobs over the past 12 months.
If budget cuts and stupidity hadn’t eliminated those 8,000 state and local public sector jobs, the employment situation in Connecticut would be in the positive as opposed to being in the negative.
The actions being taken by Bridgeport and Windham’s high priced administrators is not unique but is particularly insulting considering the state picks up 81 percent of the cost of Bridgeport’s schools and more than three-quarters of the cost in Windham.
Squandering public resources is never appropriate.
Sadly though, I suppose their best excuse is that everyone else, including state government, is busy undermining Connecticut’s economy.
At the same time Connecticut and its cities and towns have laid off 8,000 people, Governor Malloy and the state of Connecticut shifted up to $71 million dollars to CIGNA, $17.5 million to ESPN, $20 million to UBS, $291 million to Jackson Laboratories and, of course, let’s not forget the $4 million to TicketNetwork, before their CEO became too much of a liability and they had to pull out of the program.
In all of these cases, these companies promised to create at least 250 jobs each – OVER THE NEXT TEN YEARS. Well, UBS had to promise to lay-off no more than 1,500 existing workers to get their money and CIGNA took the money and then outsourced their accounting office to India.
And that doesn’t even count the $626 million in public funds allocated to the “jobs package” that Governor Malloy signed into law last October.
One recent study showed that, to date, only 39 of the 70 companies that the state’s economic development program funded provided the jobs they had promised and the average cost per private sector job was in the area of $99,000 for the ten most expensive “deals.”
That said, a small restaurant that’s moving into my town is getting $100,000 from Malloy’s new fund, so I don’t want to sound ungrateful.
What is annoying, to say the least, is that despite these difficult economic times, and while we’re making a special effort to invest in our poorest, most challenged urban school districts, we’ve got school administrators like Paul Vallas and Steven Adamowski who begin by hiring consultants and laying off the very Connecticut residents who have been working so hard to make a difference.