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Posts from the ‘Politics’ Category

Statement from CEA President Sheila Cohen on Governor’s Plan to Cut $557 Million in Education Funding in 139 Districts

Governor Malloy’s plan to cut $557 million in education funding would leave school budgets severely out of balance and schools unable to provide quality education for Connecticut’s students. This plan would be devastating for students and emphasizes the critical need for legislators to pass a state budget that protects and invests in public education.

85 cities and towns would lose all state educational funding and another 54 towns would have their funding severely cut, shortchanging our students and their future. The 30 Alliance District towns would receive flat funding compared to last year. Essential student resources in many towns with significant numbers of students living in poverty—such as Torrington, Plainfield, Milford, Groton, Berlin, and Stratford—would be wiped out due to the loss of state funding.

These draconian cuts would undermine the ability of our schools to provide quality educational opportunities for all children, and our ability as a state to remain a leader in education.

Legislators must create a fair budget that invests in public education and ensures a brighter future for Connecticut.

Speak Up to Protect Public Education and Your Retirement

Legislators decided to delay yesterday’s budget vote, giving you more time to speak out against actions that would hurt your students, your school, your retirement, and your future.

Your voice makes a difference, but some legislators have not yet heard from teachers. Contact them and tell them to

1)   Vote against any teacher retirement cost shift (shifting millions in costs from the state to the towns and putting pressure on school budgets)

2)   Vote against any increase in teacher pension contributions

3)   Vote against any cuts to ECS funding

TAKE ACTION NOW.

If legislators don’t hear from teachers they will believe these issues are not important. You can change that. CLICK HERE and tell your legislators why they must vote against any attacks on students, teachers, and public education.

If You Live in One of These Districts, Please Come Out to a Budget Forum With Legislators

Some state legislators are holding citizen budget forums this week, and they need to hear from teachers. Some budget proposals currently being considered threaten public education and teacher pensions.

If you live or teach in New London, East Hartford, Stratford, Hartford, Wallingford, Cheshire, or Southington please attend a forum and share your views about how these plans would hurt students and teachers. (See times and locations below.) Read more

Be Ready to Take Action

The school year is almost over, but the need for teacher activism is not. While the legislative session ended last week, lawmakers have yet to agree on a new state budget, necessitating a special session this summer.

We need to be prepared to fight any proposals that attack teachers, disregard the needs of our students, or ignore the resources our public schools require.

In the coming weeks, legislators will negotiate budget plans behind closed doors, leaving no opportunity for public input. That means we won’t have a lot of time to react and take action. Read more

Continued Teacher Advocacy a Must

Teachers have been speaking out forcefully against plans to shift the cost of teacher pensions onto cities and towns and raise property taxes, saying such plans would unfairly burden local taxpayers and lead to cuts in education and other essential services.

Yesterday it seemed that lawmakers on a key legislative committee were poised to respond to their constituents’ concerns and pass a budget that would maintain the state’s responsibility to fund retirement costs. At the last minute, budget talks fell apart however, and the Appropriations Committee did not approve a budget. Read more

An Open Letter to State Legislators

“Increasing property taxes for residents is not the comprehensive solution Connecticut needs to balance the state budget. We need a budget that works for all of us,” a coalition of ten organizations, which includes CEA, has written legislators.

Proposals to balance the state budget by shifting costs to cities and towns don’t sit well with Connecticut voters. The coalition of education organizations and groups representing cities and towns is urging legislators to reject these proposals.

Join us. Contact your legislators.

Tell your legislators to oppose any plans that will shift the cost of teacher retirement contributions from the state to cities and towns. A cost shift will lead to higher local property taxes and cuts to much-needed services in our communities.

Read the coalition’s open letter to legislators.

Raise Property Taxes? Coalition, Voters Say ‘No’

CEA President Sheila Cohen called the cost-shift plan “devastating” at a press conference today.

Speaking out at a town hall press conference in West Hartford—which faces historic property tax hikes to cover a major shortfall in state funding—a statewide coalition of eight diverse associations, including CEA, called on legislators to avoid shifting the state’s financial obligations onto cities and towns.

Policymakers are currently considering plans to shift $408 million in state costs for teacher retirement plans onto cities and towns, whose property tax rates are already among the highest in the country.

CEA President Sheila Cohen called the cost-shift plan “devastating,” saying it would “wreak havoc on cities and towns, jeopardize much-needed resources and services, and cut critical funding so desperately needed by our students.” Read more

Tell Your Legislators: Don’t Pass the Buck on Our Pensions

Legislators have begun to seriously consider numerous proposals, including the governor’s, to burden local cities and towns with the state obligation to fund teacher pensions.

Municipalities only have one way to raise revenue, so this cost shift would force towns to either raise local property taxes and/or cut local public education funding—leading to larger class sizes, loss of teaching positions, and fewer vital resources for students. Read more

Supreme Court Strikes Down Gorsuch Ruling on Special Education Funding: Decision Could Impact CCJEF Appeal

Last week, in the midst of a hearing on Neil Gorsuch’s nomination to the U.S. Supreme Court, the justices on that very court issued a unanimous decision that rejected one of Judge Gorsuch’s rulings against students with disabilities, and repudiated his reasoning in the case.

The decision came in Endrew F. v. Douglas County School District RE-1 and resolved a conflict among lower courts as to the level of educational benefits a school must provide to students with disabilities covered by the IDEA. Written by Chief Judge Roberts, the decision resoundingly rejected the “merely . . . more than de minimis” Gorsuch standard, holding that a school must offer those students an individualized education program (IEP) that is “reasonably calculated” to enable a student “to make progress appropriate in light of the child’s circumstances.” Read more

Educators Share Concerns With Legislators on Special Ed Proposals

Fairfield teacher and local president Bob Smoler testified before the legislature Thursday on a special education proposal.

Every year legislators on the Education Committee deliberate over many bills that could have a big impact on children, parents, and educators. This legislative session, special education is receiving particular attention.

Among the many bills the Education Committee heard testimony on today were one proposing a new way of funding special education in Connecticut and one that provides very prescriptive rules for parent observation, including allowing a minimum of 16 hours per parent in a school year.

Fairfield Education Association President and math teacher Bob Smoler took the time away from his busy teaching schedule to come up to Hartford to speak out on that second bill. Read more