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Posts tagged ‘Governor Malloy’

Urge Governor Malloy to Veto Republican Budget With Unprecedented Teacher Tax

Governor Malloy has said he will veto the Republican budget that passed the legislature this weekend, however he is receiving calls and emails from voters who want him to sign that budget into law. We must let him know teachers stand strong in opposition to this budget and urge him to veto the Republican budget.

The Republican budget imposes an unprecedented tax on teachers of approximately $1,500 per teacher—every year—that will NOT go into the teacher pension fund to support teacher retirement. This is an unfair tax that goes into the state’s general fund, and must not become law.

Click here to email Governor Malloy.

Or call his office at (800) 406-1527.
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Proposed Budget Divides Schools, Communities into ‘Clear Winners and Losers’

winnerslosers-fb-no-textGovernor Malloy today released a budget proposal that would shift significant costs for public education and teacher pensions to cities and towns that are already struggling. In his budget address this afternoon, Malloy described “a broken, disparate system where towns are pitted against one another, constantly fighting for limited state dollars.” If the General Assembly approves his plan, however, most Connecticut cities and towns—137 of them—will actually lose critical state aid and be saddled with one-third of the cost of their teachers’ pensions.

Some municipalities would face cuts in state aid close to $12.9 million (Groton and Milford would be hit hardest), and communities are scrambling to figure out how to cover critical education costs. The governor is asking Connecticut’s cities and towns to contribute $407.8 million in pension costs next fiscal year. Read more

Veto Attempt Falls Short

The Connecticut General Assembly held a veto session on Monday, July 20, but didn’t have the votes to overturn the governor’s veto of HB 6977, An Act Establishing Qualifications for the Commissioner of Education.

CEA will revisit the issue again in the next legislative session and urge legislators to once again support the measure, and require reasonable qualifications for the state’s education chief, similar to the qualifications required of the Commissioners of Corrections, Public Health, Emergency Management, and other state agency heads.

Read news articles
CT News Junkie article – General Assembly Opts Not to Override Malloy’s Vetoes.

CT Post – Legislature Does Not Override Any of Malloy’s Vetoes.

Hartford Courant – Legislature Does Not Override Any of Nine Malloy Vetoes.

Education: A focal point in first gubernatorial debate

Gov. Dannel P. Malloy and Tom Foley spent more than 15 minutes talking about education in their first gubernatorial debate last night at the Norwich Free Academy.

When asked about his tenure comment, Malloy apologized to teachers: “I shouldn’t have said it. I apologize for saying it.”

Watch the debate on CT-N at

The education discussion begins almost 24 minutes into the video.debate pic

Malloy’s apology is nearly 31 minutes into the video.

Here’s a sampling of the media coverage of the debate:

CT Mirror

The Day

CT News Junkie

The Hartford Courant,0,7507329.story

The New Haven Register

The Bulletin

The Connecticut Post

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.

Going Where We’ve Never Gone Before to Fund Public Education

House Speaker Brendan Sharkey told the crowd at CT Voices for Children's Budget Forum this morning that

House Speaker Brendan Sharkey told attendees at CT Voices for Children’s Budget Forum this morning that the state needs to reevaluate its property tax system.

When it comes to funding local public schools, top state officials may be ready to go where none of their predecessors has gone before in carving out new fiscal policy. That’s the deduction made by many in the audience at today’s State Budget Forum sponsored by Connecticut Voices for Children.

Initiatives such as a statewide property tax, giving local boards of education the authority to tax, and regionalizing key special education costs were front and center as everyone from Governor Dannel Malloy to the governor’s budget director Ben Barnes to Speaker of the House Brendan Sharkey to former state comptroller Bill Curry offered possible policy changes for discussion.

Top officials are under pressure to close a budget shortfall and are confronting the critical need to make education funding more predictable and stable.

“We have to fundamentally change how we fund state and local government,” said Sharkey. He said that a reevaluation of the state’s tax structure is crucial. “Property taxes hit those least able to pay the most,” he said.

Sharkey explained that the property tax burden in the state is as heavy as it is because it funds so much of education costs. “We need a fundamental shift,” he said.

Curry, in his remarks titled When the Elephant’s Bigger than the Room: Property Tax Reform in Connecticut, said that property tax reform could be a silver bullet for the state. “It doesn’t fix everything, but it does heal a lot of things.” He said that if it were done right, it would positively affect not only education funding, but land use, transportation plans, and much more.

Barnes noted that property taxes are remarkably stable year to year, and therefore predictable, unlike state taxes. “We should look at property taxes as part of the mix,” he said.

Governor Malloy spoke about education funding, saying, "I'm going to stand by our commitment on the education front."

Governor Malloy spoke about education funding, saying, “I’m going to stand by our commitment on the education front.”

Sharkey suggested that cities and towns consider splitting up the property tax bill so that the education portion is separate from the municipal government side. If boards of education were to collect taxes, it would hold them more accountable to taxpayers. It would also offer an incentive for them to create efficiencies and savings that have already been realized on the municipal side, he said.

A big concern for local boards of education is special education costs, Sharkey said. “Special education costs shift a lot, year to year, and blow out education budgets. We can maintain some local control, but we need to try to regionalize curriculum offerings and have a much bigger commitment from the state.”

Malloy agreed that, especially in areas like special education, regionalization could result in substantial savings for towns. “I urge districts to do more together,” he said. However he added, “We live in a state that’s probably not going to mandate that.”

Malloy reiterated past statements about his support for maintaining education funding. “Education is extremely important to me. I’m going to stand by our commitment on the education front,” he said.

Sharkey said that transportation contracts are another area where costs could be greatly reduced if districts work together. “We could be saving millions on school bus transportation through regionalization. Why can’t we create regional school calendars? It doesn’t take money, it takes will. It’s the kind of thing we need to do this year. Now is the time.”

CEA Statement on Governor Malloy’s Principles for Education Reform

Governor Malloy sent a letter today to leaders of the Connecticut General Assembly outlining his principles for education reform. According to his press release, the “principles will serve as a ‘roadmap’ for the upcoming 2012 session of the General Assembly, a session in which the Governor has repeatedly said he will focus on education.”

CEA’s executive director issued the following statement.

Statement from CEA Executive Director Mary Loftus Levine

We commend the governor for his leadership on advancing high-quality public schools.  In their collaborative outreach to CEA in recent months, both Governor Malloy and Commissioner Pryor have indicated they recognize that high-quality teachers are the greatest asset in public education.

Teachers want to use their experience in the classroom to help the governor enact changes that will improve education for the students of our state, so we look forward to working with the governor and the commissioner on these issues.

We could not agree more with the governor that our state’s economic future is dependent on our students’ educational outcomes.  As CEA has repeatedly indicated: We live in a knowledge-based global economy, and generations of citizens—young and old—depend on our students being able to compete in a global economy.

Race to the Top – Early Learning Challenge

$50 million in federal funding is available to improve early childhood education.

CEA Executive Director Mary Loftus Levine (right) told other members of Connecticut’s Early Childhood Education Cabinet that educators recognize the critical importance of quality pre-K. At left is State Senator Andrea Stillman, co-chair of the legislature's Education Committee.

“I know we can do this.” That’s the message from Governor Dannel P. Malloy to members of Connecticut’s Early Childhood Education Cabinet working on a $50 million grant from the Department of Education and the Department of Health and Human Services to improve early childhood education. The grant is part of the Early Learning Challenge, a piece of the Race to the Top education-reform competition launched in 2009.

In addressing the panel at the Legislative Office Building today, the governor said it’s important to seek federal assistance to help close the state’s achievement gap and to make sure no child is denied an opportunity to age appropriate education because of their parents’ financial situation. And he said, “We know what must be done.”

“Urban teachers, rural teachers, suburban teachers—they all know what it’s going to take to improve the quality of the product as it comes to our formalized kindergarten through grade 12 program,” said Malloy. “Let’s go after this grant, and design programs to make sure we get it right in Connecticut, and we get it right sooner than later.”

CEA Executive Director Mary Loftus Levine listened to Governor Malloy address the Early Childhood Education Cabinet.

The Governor said, “Anytime we deny some group of children the ability to meet their maximum—to be as good a student, as good a citizen, as good a worker as they possibly can be, in this very competitive economic environment—we are failing that child.”

CEA Executive director Mary Loftus Levine, a member of the cabinet, says educators recognize the critical importance of quality pre-K to the development of Connecticut’s youngest children.

“We need to focus on literacy skills, high-quality instruction and programs, and having highly qualified and certified teachers for our youngest children. Time is not a renewable resource for these children, so the time to act is now,” said Levine.

To win the grants, states are required to submit applications showing evidence of their commitment to a series of reforms, including the coordination and improvement of multiple early childhood programs designed for children from birth through age five.

Rep. Andy Fleischman, co-chair of the legislature’s Education Committee, said legislation (SB 1103) enacted last spring to create a coordinated system of early childhood care laid the foundation that the group is aiming to build upon.

The cabinet’s next meeting is Sept. 22. Applications are due October 19, and winners will be announced before December 31.

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Governor Challenges Superintendents at Back-to-School Gathering

Governor Dannel P. Malloy’s speech today to school superintendents is a clarion call to embrace change, especially in the 20 to 30 school districts where the governor says students are being left behind.

The governor is challenging educators “to not tolerate that which they can change.”  His own intolerance already has him outlining change for the State Department of Education.

The governor says that policymakers and educators “need to leave their assumptions at the door.”  He said he met recently with the head of the CT Manufacturers Association, who told him there are 1,000 openings in manufacturing, but no skilled workers to fill the jobs.  Governor Malloy says that’s one of the reasons education attainment must be improved because a world-class workforce is the key to the state’s economic future.

Governor Malloy plans to make this “the year of education” at the state legislature.  As we reported at BlogCEA earlier this month, his plans include a better defined teacher evaluation system.  He wants strong teacher professional development and opportunities for teachers to refine their skills to provide the best student instruction possible.

Malloy’s remarks were made at Acting State Commissioner of Education George Coleman’s “back to school” meeting.  It’s an annual event that no governor in memory has appeared at to challenge educators.  Coleman is retiring, and the governor praised his contributions as a public servant.  There was thunderous applause from the superintendents group as a sign of thanks to Commissioner Coleman.

Coleman praises teachers, saying “we have great teachers working hard.”  That sentiment is echoed by Governor Malloy.

Warning: Uncertainty Ahead

Concession talks between state employee unions and the Malloy administration are coming down to the wire. State Capitol observers are increasingly anxious about the consequences of a breakdown. As the Hartford Courant opined today: If Governor Malloy fails to extract union concessions, then “he will also have to stop shielding schools, towns and cities from cuts and will have to slash programs that provide safety nets to poor, vulnerable citizens.” What do you think of the choices on the table for top state officials?

Governor Malloy signed the FY12/FY13 Biennium Budget Bill yesterday after it was approved by the House of Representatives and Senate. The new budget provides $570 million in state education aid to local schools over the next year two years to fill the gap created by the loss of federal stimulus funds. That’s good news for students and teachers.

But there’s no escaping the fact that the new state budget — just enacted — is actually roughly $1 billion in the red. It’s because it was passed with Governor Malloy expecting to get that amount of savings in concessions from state employees in negotiations underway. If those concession talks break down, then Governor Malloy promises to be back at the legislature with an “alternative budget.”

Here’s what Governor Malloy told citizens as he signed his first budget: “Now it’s up to my Administration to reach an agreement with our fellow state employees and to present it to the legislature for ratification. I remain hopeful that we’ll get there. If we don’t, I remain committed to presenting an alternative budget to the General Assembly in the next couple of weeks.”  Stay tuned to find out what an alternative budget would mean for our public schools.