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.