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Schools Brace For Absence of State Budget, Funding Formula

by | Aug 1, 2017 8:57pm
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Posted to: Education, Meriden

Courtesy of CTN

Gov. Dannel P. Malloy in Meriden Tuesday

MERIDEN, CT — Gov. Dannel P. Malloy is not afraid to impose his idea of fair funding when it comes to distributing education aid to cities and towns, but not everyone is going to appreciate it.

Malloy, who was in Meriden Tuesday to unveil the latest SAT scores, is running the state through an executive order. Legislative leaders have yet to send him a two-year budget as they struggle to close a $5.1 billion budget deficit.

If the stalemate over the state budget drags into September and October, it could impact the first Education Cost Sharing payment the state makes to cities and towns.

Malloy said he had hoped the legislature would have resolved this issue by now, but since they haven’t he plans to re-evaluate “our constitutional requirement for education in the state of Connecticut.”

He said that may mean that some districts will have to receive less money so that other districts can receive an amount that honors the constitutional requirement.

Malloy’s executive order cuts $515 million in Education Cost Sharing funds, but he said he would adjust the formula so that Connecticut’s 30 lowest performing districts, known as the Alliance districts, get more funding than they initially would have.

“Some districts will have to receive less money so that other districts can receive an appropriate amount of money,” Malloy said.

Malloy said there may be areas of adjustment in the coming weeks if the budget stalemate continues.

“I had hoped that this would be resolved in the month of August or the first few weeks of September,” Malloy said Tuesday at Platt High School. “If this is going to drag on, then quite frankly some of those assumptions will have to be adjusted to reflect the constitutional requirement with respect to public education.”

Asked what it means for Meriden schools, Meriden Superintendent Mark Benigni said, “I think our students are in jeopardy here.”

He said that for the first time in eights years he’s concerned they will have to let go of staff mid-year and class sizes will have to increase.

“Right now we can’t afford to take a big step backward,” Benigni said. “It’s really our students who will lose out if we don’t.”

Earlier this year, Malloy sought to come up with a new formula to distribute education aid.

House Speaker Joe Aresimowicz, D-Berlin, said Tuesday that he doesn’t see the legislature making any “wholesale changes” to education funding if there’s not going to be any additional money.

“Currently we’re going under the assumption that without additional money, we can’t make the changes that we want to ECS,” Aresimowicz told reporters.

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