Early this morning, Genghis put up a post that mentioned Rep. Janowski’s proposal to increase ECS funding for towns that participate in the Open Choice program (currently, there is a perverse disincentive for for towns, in that increased participation lowers the amount of funding they receive per student from the state).
This is a good time to flag an On-The-Ground op-ed (run Sunday in the Courant) from the Superintendent of Lisbon and the School Board Chair of Hamden (father and son):
Gov. M. Jodi Rell is requiring state agencies to shave at least 10 percent from their budgets. This means that the proposed state budget will slash more than $200 million in aid to local school districts. Communities rely on these funds to keep local taxes in check and pay for the basic necessities of public education.
The proposed cuts will be devastating. The inevitable elimination of programs and teaching positions will gut instructional quality. In some towns, schools may need to be closed to save costs, even if it increases the number of students per classroom elsewhere.
To avoid this crisis, the burden must be shared. State government and municipalities must take bold steps.
Click the link to read their proposals for mitigating the effects of the cuts.
On a related note, politicians of all stripes, but especially our sometimes Governor, should abolish the phrase, “tax increases are off the table” unless they couple it with a promise to fully fund municipalities through ECS and PILOT funds. If they don’t make that promise, they aren’t actually taking tax increases off the table. Instead, they are displaying their political courage, or lack thereof, by claiming credit for a budget that doesn’t increase state income taxes, but forces mayors to raise property taxes or make drastic cuts, like closing popular and successful magnet schools. Gee, thanks.