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Malloy Boosts Education Funding, Defends Pryor’s Decision To Leave

by Hugh McQuaid | Aug 21, 2014 3:45pm
(7) Comments | Commenting has expired
Posted to: Education

Hugh McQuaid Photo

Education Commissioner Stefan Pryor and Gov. Dannel P. Malloy

NEW BRITAIN — Standing with his outgoing education commissioner, Gov. Dannel P. Malloy announced Thursday new funding for troubled school districts participating in a state-run improvement program.

Malloy and Education Commissioner Stefan Pryor said the state would spend about $133 million more this year on 30 troubled school districts than the state spent on those same districts prior to the passage of Malloy’s 2012 education reform bill. This year’s funding level represents about $45 million increase over last year’s funding.

“It is proof that we are making the kind of progress that we promised we would make when we undertook educational reform just a few years ago,” Malloy said at a Thursday press conference held inside a New Britain middle school.

In order to participate in the program, school districts are required to draft improvement plans and submit those plans to the Education Department for approval. So far, 28 of the 30 school districts have had their plans approved by the state. Their funding levels were announced Thursday by the administration.

Malloy said the Alliance District program balances state and local control. Although the state identifies the areas where a school district must improve, the governor stressed that local administrators draft the plans to make the improvements. He said the program does not use a “cookie cutter” approach.

“The state’s going to increase funding and we have increased funding very substantially. We have an obligation to make sure that money is spent wisely. I think that is part of the give and take of providing hundreds of millions of dollars of additional funding to be concentrated on the districts most in need,” he said. “Do I think we’ve struck the right balance? I do.”

Not everyone agrees. Jonathan Pelto, a liberal blogger who has submitted signatures in an effort to challenge Malloy on the November ballot, released a statement claiming there were too many strings attached to the new funding.

“In order to get those funds, school districts were required to accept a series of new mandates and programs aimed at further implementing Malloy’s corporate education reform agenda and diverting scarce public dollars to private companies,” Pelto wrote.

For Pelto and other critics of Malloy’s education reform policies, Pryor, who co-founded a public charter school in New Haven, has been a lightning rod for criticism. Pryor announced this week that he does not intend to serve another term as commissioner, even if Malloy succeeds with his difficult re-election bid.

Thursday’s press conference was the first time the two men appeared together since the announcement. Reporters asked whether Pryor’s departure was a political calculation.

“I did not suggest that,” Malloy said. “It was a decision that we reached and we did have the opportunity to talk about it. I did receive his letter on Monday and as you note, I appear alongside my friend today. So let there be no doubt about that.”

Asked whether he felt his continued service may harm the governor’s re-election chances, Pryor answered that he was proud of the work he had done during Malloy’s first term.

“Sometimes when you look at a transition point — and a change in term is such a point — it makes sense to pursue opportunities and know that the contribution you’ve made is the right one and you wish to go on and make other contributions in your professional life. I maintain a superb relationship with this governor,” Pryor said.

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(7) Comments

posted by: ocoandasoc | August 21, 2014  4:21pm

How about this for political double-talk:

Reporters: Was Pryor’s departure a political calculation?

Malloy: “I did not suggest that. It was a decision that we reached and we did have the opportunity to talk about it. I did receive his letter on Monday and as you note, I appear alongside my friend today. So let there be no doubt about that.”

Reporters:  Do you think your continued service might harm the governor’s re-election chances?

Pryor:  “Sometimes when you look at a transition point — and a change in term is such a point — it makes sense to pursue opportunities and know that the contribution you’ve made is the right one and you wish to go on and make other contributions in your professional life.”

Hard to follow? Well, here’s the translation:

Malloy: “Yes, I had to throw the teachers unions a bone, and this was it.”

Pryor: “Dan made it clear that I was out, but said if I went quietly he’d make it up to me down the road.”

posted by: ocoandasoc | August 21, 2014  4:33pm

How about this for political double-talk:
Reporters: Was Pryor’s departure a political calculation?
Malloy: “I did not suggest that. It was a decision that we reached and we did have the opportunity to talk about it. I did receive his letter on Monday and as you note, I appear alongside my friend today. So let there be no doubt about that.”
Reporters:  Do you think your continued service might harm the governor’s re-election chances?
Pryor:  “Sometimes when you look at a transition point — and a change in term is such a point — it makes sense to pursue opportunities and know that the contribution you’ve made is the right one and you wish to go on and make other contributions in your professional life.”
Hard to follow? Well, here’s the translation:
Malloy: “Yes, I had to throw the teachers unions a bone, and this was it.”

Pryor: “Dan made it clear that I was out, but said if I went quietly he’d make it up to me down the road.”

posted by: art vandelay | August 21, 2014  11:13pm

art vandelay

Malloy is a political mastermind.  Ten weeks before an election we now have a Commissioner detested by every public school teacher in this state resign.  We have magical surpluses and a new transportation system that is going to solve the parking lots on I-84.  Give me a break.  Anybody who votes for Malloy in November must have rocks in their head.
I do give Malloy credit for one thing.  He’s an excellent student of the Obama playbook.

posted by: GBear423 | August 22, 2014  6:36am

GBear423

and from Art’s mouth to malloy spokesman’s press release: This in the Courant-

“Governor Dannel P. Malloy has announced the appointment of Erin D. Benham, a longtime Meriden teacher and Maria Isabel Mojica, a consultant to nonprofit groups, to the state Board of Education.”

posted by: dano860 | August 22, 2014  7:54am

Borrowing another $133 M to buy votes is the bottom line on this maneuver. This is the type of waste that needs to be stopped.
Money doesn’t make for better students or teachers. Look at the rankings of towns on the per student cost and you will find places like Ellington at the bottom. They have one of the lowest cost per student yet they ranright at the top for academic performance.
More cash just filters to the unions.
Another desperate piece of vote buying strategy pulled off by the Dannel machine…at our expense!

posted by: ctperson13 | August 22, 2014  8:13am

acoandasoc:

LOL. LOVE your quite accurate translation of Dan and Stefan’s inscrutable, lawyer-speak comments.

posted by: jim black | August 22, 2014  9:20am

Malloy’s election strategy has always been clear, buy votes and pandering. Hopefully it won’t work but some people are easily fooled.