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Posts tagged ‘ECS Funding’

Statement From CEA President Sheila Cohen on Governor Signing Bipartisan Budget into Law

The governor yesterday signed the bipartisan budget into law, ending the draconian education cuts made under his Executive Order. The new budget restores essential ECS funding to cities and towns across the state. Torrington, which was cut by more than $20 million, and 138 other communities whose budgets were drastically cut, will now receive the education funding needed to ensure the continued operation of their schools and the high-quality education of their students. This was a critical step to avoid massive disruption in our schools across the state.

We appreciate that the new budget protects education funding for our students and schools, but we are disappointed that teachers were singled out and penalized with a teacher tax. While the proposed increase in the payroll tax on teachers was reduced from two percent to one percent, the monies collected from this teacher tax will not be used to help strengthen the teacher retirement fund, but will instead be pass-through revenue to the state similar to any other tax.

Our children and their futures should be a priority for every resident in Connecticut, as should their teachers, whose lives are dedicated to providing quality education.

CEA Goes to Court to Block Education Funding Cuts

CEA joined with Torrington and Plainfield teachers, a Brooklyn parent and her two children, and the municipalities of Torrington, Plainfield, and Brooklyn yesterday to file a lawsuit against cuts to education in the governor’s executive order.

“We have taken this action to prevent our schools from being stripped of critical resources because that will cause irreparable harm to our students,” said CEA President Sheila Cohen. Read more

CEA Calls on Legislators to Convene Immediately to Create a Real Bipartisan Budget

Today, Governor Malloy reaffirmed his decision to veto the budget that passed this weekend. CEA agrees that a better bipartisan budget is needed for Connecticut, and is calling on legislators to convene immediately to craft a budget that works for all of us and invests in public education.

In order to move Connecticut forward, a real bipartisan budget must: Read more

Latest on the State Budget

Hartford Capitol SummerThroughout the state budget process, CEA members have been strong advocates. In just the last three days, more than 4,000 emails were sent by CEA members to their representatives and state senators. Here’s what happened at the Capitol Friday and Saturday:

Democrats were expected to pass their budget.

In the State Senate three Democrats—Paul Doyle, Gayle Slossberg, and Joan Hartley—all voted for the Republican budget. As a result, the Republican budget proposal passed by a vote of 21 to 15. Read more

Urge Legislators to Pass a Budget That Invests in Public Education

This is our last chance to have our voices heard before the budget vote.

Legislators are expected to vote on a budget this Thursday or Friday. School budgets across the state are at risk.

Click here and take action immediately.

Tell legislators: Read more

Groton Education Association Spearheads Solidarity Day Against ECS Cuts

Groton Solidarity Day

Butler Elementary School teachers gathered in the library to write their letters to legislators.

Groton legislators have been overwhelmed by correspondence from constituents urging them to protect education funding. A grassroots campaign spearheaded by the Groton Education Association (GEA) sent over 300 handwritten letters to legislators’ homes.

GEA President Beth Horler proposed the effort after news first broke that Groton Public Schools could lose millions of dollars in Education Cost Sharing (ECS) funds.

The funding cuts would affect all students and all aspects of the school system and the town. Horler talked to Superintendent Michael Graner and got the entire school system on board with holding a solidarity day.
Read more

Governor Outlines Commitment to Funding for Many Public Schools

CEA President Sheila Cohen joined Governor Malloy and other state and teacher union leaders

At a State Capitol news conference today CEA President Sheila Cohen said she is happy that the governor recognizes the need for increased funding for public schools.

Despite the state’s fiscal woes, Governor Dannel P. Malloy today announced a proposal to increase Education Cost Sharing (ECS) funding to 117 of the state’s 169 cities and towns, while maintaining level funding for the remaining municipalities.

CEA President Sheila Cohen, CEA Vice President Jeff Leake, CEA Executive Director Mark Waxenberg, AFT-CT President Melodie Peters, and AFT-CT First Vice President Stephen McKeever joined the governor, Lt. Governor Nancy Wyman, and State Education Commissioner Stefan Pryor at a news conference at the State Capitol for the announcement.

The governor said that education is a priority and the state needs to provide additional money, especially to build on the Alliance District, Commissioner’s Network, and other school improvement efforts. Malloy said, “We have an obligation to each and every student in our schools to provide them with a quality public education so they can compete in the 21st century economy.”

Cohen said, “Connecticut is fortunate to have a governor who understands that investing in public education will bring future economic, social, and fiscal returns. Too often decisions about our children’s future are driven by budgetary realities, rather than what would ultimately be best for public schools students in the long term. Connecticut can’t build a strong local economy unless it provides high-quality education, and the state can’t have high-quality schools without adequate funding.”

Under the plan, ECS funding will increase by more than $50 million in 2014, and more than $101 million in 2015.

The governor also announced a new collaboration between the State Department of Education and CEA and AFT-CT.  According to state officials, the new partnership is aimed at promoting the teaching profession by attracting top teaching candidates to Connecticut schools, retaining our best teachers, and providing advancement opportunities for teachers over the course of their careers. The plan calls for several million dollars in competitive grants to fund recruiting and retaining programs in two or three districts.

“We are pleased with this partnership, which appears to create the conditions necessary to further the teaching profession,” said Cohen. “It is imperative that Connecticut do all it can to recruit, attract, and keep the best and brightest teachers in the classroom. These professionals need to keep growing and learning, increasing their effectiveness so that they can elevate achievement and prepare students for the future challenges in our 21st century workforce.”

The governor will outline specifics of the proposal during his budget address to the legislature tomorrow afternoon.

Task Force Considers New Formula for Funding Education

ECS Task Force Co-Chairs Senator Andrea Stillman and Office of Policy and Management Secretary Ben Barnes review proposed changes to the ECS Formula.

The committee charged with developing recommendations to change how the state distributes education funding met yesterday to consider a new formula it may recommend in its final report. The Education Cost Sharing (ECS) Task Force is looking to wrap up its work by the end of the month and send its recommendations on to Governor Malloy and the Connecticut General Assembly.

The changes to the formula that the Task Force’s Formula Subcommittee proposed would be phased in over four to six years and include how student need and town wealth are calculated. See the complete proposed changes here.

To illustrate how the formula changes would affect the state, the subcommittee presented three hypothetical models for how the state could implement the new formula. Variables among the models included the availability of new ECS funds and whether the state would guarantee that towns would receive at least the same ECS grant they received in a prior year.

Task Force member Ted Sergi, former state commissioner of education, said the proposed changes include two concepts new to Connecticut: making predictable what a town’s grant will be for the next four years and establishing a more achievable target for the ECS grant. In the 23 years it has used the ECS formula to calculate its share of education costs the state has never fully funded the ECS grant.

“For 30 years we have had an ECS formula with an unachievable goal, and it hasn’t served us well,” Sergi said.

Senator Andrea Stillman, ECS Task Force co-chair, said she agreed that “predictability is always a great thing.”  But at the same time, she said, “The state would have to make a very big financial commitment. That would challenge the legislature quite a bit.”

Formula Subcommittee Chair Len Miller said, “We would like a strong commitment — we think this is important. But we do understand that no one can predict an economic downturn like what happened in 2008.”

Miller said that new education funding legislation should give the legislature options in an extreme budget year. But he said that the subcommittee felt strongly that statutory language should be worded carefully so that education funding would not be subject to “political winds.”

At its next meeting the Task Force agreed to take a look — town-by-town — at the formula models its subcommittee presented.

Task Force Co-Chair and Office of Policy and Management Secretary Ben Barnes said, “Clearly there will be some winners and losers.” He said he hopes, “that we can all look at those individual results as being reflective of a proposed way to measure need when examining why numbers changed for one community or another. We need to try to think about this as dispassionately as we can.”

Brian Mahoney, the State Department of Education’s chief financial officer, said the new formula’s method for calculating community wealth accounted for most of the changes in the models.

Sergi pointed out that even if the state continued to use the existing formula but updated town wealth data, there would be significant changes in what towns receive. Because of how the statute is written, Connecticut is still using data from 2000 to calculate town wealth.

With the state likely to experience a deficit this year, it’s uncertain whether the state will be able to increase ECS funding.

Responding to reporters’ questions prior to yesterday’s meeting, Barnes said, “Education is clearly a huge priority of the governor’s, and I expect you’ll see that reflected in his budget, but it would be premature for me to comment on what he will propose.”

The ECS Task Force’s final meeting is scheduled for November 27. Ultimately it will be up to legislators and the governor to decide whether or not to follow the Task Force’s recommendations.