CABE, CAPSS and CASBO came up with the following points to help people understand the impact of a 14% decrease in ECS funding:
- Even if the State Legislature is to keep funding at the same level that is has provided over the last two years, that level won't keep up with inflation. But, they agree that it will help school districts protect themselves from severe cuts if funding decreased by 14%
- CT school districts have estimated that 4,593 teachers alone have been saved from losing their jobs by the fed stimulus money. Over 1/3 of these teachers were in DRG I, the most impoverished school districts in the state.
- CT is ramping up it's expectations for it's schools focusing on student achievement (graduation rates, test scores) loss of teachers and other staff would be "devastating".
- If the 14% gap is not filled, the result will be larger class sizes, deferred maintenance on schools and cuts to instructional technology and athletic programs.
- They agree that the 14 percent gap cannot be passed on to our cities and towns. School budgets, which in 2007-2008 increased on average over 4%, are now averaging close to 1%.
- They agree that there's no appetite at the local level to increase local taxes to make up for the gap as taxpayers are already feeling strangled by very high property taxes.
- The one year $257M in stimulus money represents only 1.4% of all State of CT budget expenditures for 1 year.
It's important to note that these three organizations represent Board of Education, School SuperIntendents and District Management across CT. The issue of ECS funding is not isolated soley to Cheshire. Yet despite our State's financial condition, Hartford continues to beg and borrow money to make up for it's shorfalls yet continues to pile on education reforms we know we can't afford or figure out how to pay for.
And, Malloy doesn't give me any sense of relief that he'll be able to (and willingly) lead the State out of the financial mess we're in. The house of cards continues to wobble.