Students, educators urge lawmakers to not approve governor's bud - WFSB 3 Connecticut

Students, educators urge lawmakers to not approve governor's budget

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HARTFORD, CT (WFSB) -

There are big changes for education, as the governor's new budget includes millions in cuts.

On Wednesday, the head of state colleges and universities told lawmakers there will be a hiring freeze, and UConn’s president says there may be cuts in some financial aid.

The cuts will reduce staff, and at UConn, that means fewer teachers.

The goal is to make the cuts while trying to not hurt education, and students are not taking it lightly.

On Wednesday, about 60 students went to Hartford to tell lawmakers not to do it.

"If you want people to stay here, work here, contribute here, pay taxes here, you need to invest in UConn, otherwise they are going to go other places,” said Daniel Byrd, of UConn Student Government.

The cuts are significant, with $28 million starting this year.

UConn said this means vacant positions won't be filled, and larger class sizes. Some students may need an extra semester to graduate.

UConn President Susan Herbst told lawmakers there may even be cuts to some financial aid.

"One thing I can guarantee is that students who need financial aid to stay in school and to keep debt load down. We will take care of them,” Herbst said.

"There are hundreds, if not thousands, of families that would not be able to send students to UConn or other public higher education institutions without financial aid, so that's a key priority,” said State Rep. Andy Fleishmann, of the Education Committee.

"Everybody knows we are pretty tight on budgets and that's what we are trying to be,” said Gov. Dannel Malloy.

The governor's budget also includes cuts to Connecticut state colleges and universities, which includes central, eastern, western and community colleges. Twenty-eight million for 2018, on top of a tuition increase last year.

It's now the third straight year there will be a hiring freeze.

"There will be no position filled that's not necessary for either instruction or for public safety of our students,” said President of Connecticut State Colleges and Universities Mark Ojakian.

Connecticut has a respected college system, and the concern is continued cuts could hurt the quality.

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