Despite a state budget being approved by lawmakers, a veto from the governor is looming.
Gov. Dannel Malloy said on Wednesday that he'll veto the biennial state budget that was introduced by legislative Republicans and adopted by the Connecticut General Assembly. However, Malloy said he is willing to compromise on a bipartisan plan.
The governor said in the budget "significantly reduces – and in some cases completely eliminates – funding streams for the state’s highest need and lowest performing school districts."
"For decades, we have not provided sufficient support to the students who need us the most and as a result, we have seen achievement gaps widen,” Malloy said in a statement on Wednesday. “The Republican budget pulls the rug out from under school districts that are starting to turn the curve by eliminating many of our education reform initiatives, while at the same time directing increased funding to our most affluent districts."
Malloy said the budget also ignores "a court order to create a more equitable education aid funding system" and does not help close the achievement gap.
"We cannot risk rolling back the progress we have made over the last several years,” Malloy said. "The time for bold action to continue our improvement efforts and address the issue of fair funding in our education system is now – and the Republican budget jeopardizes that goal.”
Malloy addressed the state budget situation at the middle school in East Hartford on Wednesday afternoon. The governor said the GOP budget will damage education by cutting funding to low performing schools, by eliminating the commissioners network, which helps those schools, and taking $150 million from the alliance district to close the achievement gap. It would also eliminate K-3 reading assessment programs.
"I think the reality of the Republican budget is on education is one hot mess," Malloy said. "This is a document that rolls back what we did on 2012."
The House and Senate Republican Leaders held a news conference to discuss the approved bipartisan budget. GOP leaders defended cuts to education and the cuts to the University of Connecticut were exaggerated.
The governor is expected to meet with republicans on Friday.
Malloy said the Republic budget is unbalanced and does the following items: Eliminates or significantly reduces funding for the state’s major intervention programs in the highest need school districts, including: Eliminates funding for the Commissioner’s Network, the state initiative that aims to turn around some of our lowest-performing schools. Eliminates $150 million in dedicated funding for Alliance Districts – that aid would now go directly to the municipality as part of main ECS funding formula instead of being targeted to educational interventions designed to close achievement gaps in our most challenged districts that educate most of our students with complex needs. Reduces funding of Priority School District grants by $23 million over the biennium. Significantly impacts the state’s ability to meet requirements under the approved federal Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) plan, putting over $100 million in federal Title 1 funds in jeopardy. Eliminates K-3 Reading Assessment Program. Eliminates talent development funding that supports our educators’ continued professional growth. Eliminates the School-Based Diversion Initiative, which is having a real impact on keeping students engaged in school and reducing school-based arrests. Eliminates bilingual education as a stand-alone grant. However, in recent years, the governor said Connecticut has seen the following "improvements in educational outcomes:" The statewide overall graduation rate has reached 87.4 percent, up from 82.7 percent in 2011 and significantly higher than the national average of 82.3 percent. The graduation rate for Alliance Districts is up to 78.3 percent, up from 71.2 percent in 2011. In 2015-2016 school year, the number of chronically absent students dropped to 9.6 percent, down from 10.6 percent the year before and 11.5 percent in 2012-2013. This decline means that over 10,000 more students are attending school on a daily basis than four years ago. Connecticut students continue to be among the top readers in the nation, according to National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) results.Copyright 2017 WFSB (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.