What Does Connecticut’s New General Assembly Session Mean for Teacher Pensions, School Funding?
Though his opening address to the 2018 General Assembly today emphasized Connecticut’s tradition of fairness and the state’s future generations, the governor’s new budget proposal delivers mixed news for Connecticut students, teachers, and schools.
On the plus side, the governor’s plan includes a proposal to restructure state payments to the teacher retirement fund in a way that promotes the long-term solvency and stability of the fund.
“We support this initiative,” said CEA President Sheila Cohen, “but the plan must go further.” CEA is calling on the state to repeal the recent 1% increase in the teacher payroll tax, which increased the state’s pension obligation debt by $20 million.
“The state must keep its promise to teachers and fulfill its obligation to funding the state teachers’ retirement fund so that it will be financially solvent over the long term,” said Cohen.
In a break from the bipartisan budget legislators passed last fall, and in spite of his repeated calls for a better, fairer Connecticut, the governor has proposed a budget that denies adequate and equitable funding for education—a move that threatens to cripple cities and towns scrambling to meet students’ needs in an environment of already reduced state aid and diminished resources for schools. Earlier ECS cuts have prompted midyear furloughs, layoffs, and cuts to educational programs and services, creating major disruptions in school districts throughout Connecticut.
“Connecticut must stop underfunding and endangering our students’ futures,” Cohen warned. “We must develop a new ECS plan that provides a fair, reliable, sustainable, and equitable funding source for all students, regardless of where they live.” Cohen called for a new funding plan that ensures public school students have the critical tools and support they need and added, “We are hopeful that legislators will work with the newly created Connecticut Achievement and Resource Equity in Schools (CARES) Commission to that end. We cannot fail our students.”