Connecticut Schools Begin Cutbacks In Anticipation Of Reduced State Aid
Connecticut cities and towns are cutting their education budgets in response to cuts in state education aid. In November, the State reduced education aid by $58 million.
The Connecticut Conference of Municipalities says school districts across Connecticut could face more cuts in state aid.
Conference spokesperson Kevin Maloney says, “We’re advocating that the State provide adequate assistance to cities and towns, to provide the towns with other sources of revenue beyond the property tax, and to work against the State enacting any unfunded mandates on towns, which would require them to provide new services but without any state funding to pay for it.”
New Haven schools are facing a $6.6 million deficit. Mayor Toni Harp is proposing a substantial mill rate increase to raise more money for education. “We’ve had to raise the mill rate, at least by my proposal, by 11 percent and that will [also] include cuts across the board including to New Haven public schools. Unfortunately, if we can’t get more resources from the State for educational cost sharing and for our magnet schools—that grant went down as well—then I’m afraid we’re going to have to look at closing some of our schools.”
Carol Birks, New Haven schools superintendent, has already reduced the deficit by laying off part-time employees who have received pensions or reduced their hours. New Haven’s Board of Education wants Birks to audit six schools, including two high schools, an elementary school, and three alternative schools, to see if any of them need to be closed or consolidated to save costs.
In Bridgeport, the Ganim administration wants to layoff assistant principals at schools with 500 or fewer students.
And in the Westport school system, 160 staff were issued layoff notices on Friday.
The Malloy administration says the cuts could be restored depending on whether or not the State ends the fiscal year with a deficit. Connecticut is currently projecting a billion-dollar surplus because of higher than expected income tax receipts since the beginning of the year. The State’s fiscal year ends June 30.