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SEBAC Changes Bylaws – Cuts to Education Still Possible

Governor Malloy released a budget cutting plan Friday which would chop 31 million in education funds from the state’s FY 2012 budget and 36.5 million from FY 2013.  Although Malloy has kept his word and level funded the ECS grant, these educational cuts would have serious consequences for Connecticut children.

There is still a chance these budget cuts will not be necessary – the State Employees Bargaining Agent Coalition (SEBAC) met this morning and changed its bylaws to allow ratification of a concessions package if a majority of unions and members approve.

The concessions package that the unions voted down was approved by a majority of members, but failed to pass because it didn’t meet the bylaw requirement. Formerly the bylaw stated that 14 out of 15 unions representing 80 percent of the rank-and-file membership must approve a concessions package in order for it to be ratified.

In response to the SEBAC bylaws change, Governor Malloy issued the following statement.

It’s good news that the unions have changed their ratification process to one that respects the will of the majority.  Over the next few days Mark Ojakian will be speaking with SEBAC leaders to understand which issues in the agreement need to be clarified.  Given the limited number of issues that have been identified as problematic, it shouldn’t take more than a couple of days to have a clarified agreement that’s ready to be voted on by all state employees.

Mark Ojakian has negotiated on behalf of Malloy with the state employee unions.

Hopefully Malloy and SEBAC can come to a mutually acceptable agreement, however much remains uncertain. So, the roller coaster ride continues for all involved in public education. What has it been like for you as you travel the ups, the sharp corners, and the steep declines of this perilous budget making? Let us know in the comments.

Some of the Governor’s proposed education cuts include: a reduction in funding for the After School Program by 50% in 2012 and 72% in 2013, serious cuts to Connecticut’s state technical schools, and reducing funding for CommPACT Schools by 16% in 2013.

A complete list of the proposed education cuts can be found on pages 64 – 69 of the plan.

A reduction in CommPACT School funding would be an enormous step backwards for urban schoolchildren – and it could jeopardize private and corporate dollars that the state funds have leveraged. The program is addressing the achievement gap in seven of Connecticut’s urban schools.  Some of the important successes CommPACT Schools have already achieved include the following.

  • 87.8% of third-graders at Washington Elementary School in Waterbury reached grade-level proficiency on the latest CMT math scores, which is above the state average.
  • Westside Middle School in Waterbury has been upgraded to Safe Harbor status, largely because of the CommPACT-driven literacy program.
  • Recently released CAPT scores indicate that Bridgeport’s Bassick High School – in its first year as a CommPACT school – had greater percentages of students scoring at or above goal in science and writing compared with any of the previous five years.

If a concessions package isn’t approved by SEBAC members, Governor Malloy’s proposed cuts will go to the General Assembly.

Below is some additional recent coverage of the Governor’s budget cutting plan.

Connecticut Mirror

Hartford Courant

CTNewsJunkie

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