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Connecticut teachers' unions urge lawmakers to tap into state surplus to increase teacher pay

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CEA
Connecticut Education Association President Kate Dias answers reporters’ questions about CEA’s latest survey.

Connecticut teachers' unions have announced their 2023 legislative agenda, including increasing teacher salaries to attract and retain public school educators.

The state was short 1,200 teachers at the beginning of the school year. Most of the vacancies were in the lowest-performing school districts, according to the state Department of Education.

The state should use some of its $1 billion budget surplus to increase teacher pay, said Kate Dias, president of the Connecticut Education Association (CEA).

“We either make that commitment today, or we continue to watch our public school teachers look for a better offer, and they will find them,” she said at a news briefing.

A CEA voter survey conducted last fall found overwhelming support for increased teacher pay, said Don Williams, executive director of CEA.

“Eighty three percent support increasing teacher salaries. Three quarters favor the state providing more funding to cities and towns to support teacher salaries,” he said.

A number of lawmakers, including Democratic House Speaker Matt Ritter and Education Committee co-chair Rep. Jeff Currey, as well as Rep. Kathleen McCarty, the ranking Republican on the committee, have said they support proposals to use the state’s Education Cost Sharing Formula to help reduce class size and increase teacher pay.

As WSHU Public Radio’s award-winning senior political reporter, Ebong Udoma draws on his extensive tenure to delve deep into state politics during a major election year.