Connecticut’s Budget Crisis Worsens

Gov. Dan Malloy and state Democrats plan to enact major cuts to education.

...[Malloy's] proposed cuts would have a devastating effect on many schools districts across Connecticut.

Martin Looney
Senate Democratic Leader

Days before Connecticut kids are headed back to school, Gov. Dan Malloy announced plans to slash and eliminate aid to dozens of schools districts throughout the state. All told, funding is being partially rolled back for 54 districts, while 85 districts are losing funding completely. 

According to the Hartford Courant: 

The plan maintains funding for the 30 districts that serve the poorest students. But 54 districts would see a reduction in aid and 85 — including West Hartford and Southington — would receive no Education Cost Sharing aid under Malloy’s proposal, which will be put into place in October if the General Assembly fails to pass a budget by then.

“In the absence of an adopted budget from the General Assembly, my administration is reallocating resources to pay for basic human services, education in our most challenged school districts, and the basic operation of government,” Malloy said. “The municipal aid that is funded as part of this executive order reflects the nearly impossible decisions Connecticut must make in the absence of a budget. It will force some of our municipalities – both large and small – to make similarly difficult choices of their own.”

Lawmakers in a divided legislature have been unable to approve a spending plan and adopt an education funding formula as they contend with a $3.5 billion deficit over the next two years. Malloy is running the state through executive order, a limited budgetary tool that allows him to cut certain line items and shift funds but not to raise new revenue.

With most public schools set to open by the end of the month, education officials across the state are delaying hiring non-tenured teachers, freezing other positions, putting off repairs and deferring the purchases of supplies needed for the upcoming school year. At least one district is delaying opening day to conserve cash.

Lawmakers throughout the state are understandably unhappy about the plan. 

State Sen. Lee Fasano, for example, was quoted as saying, "The governor’s executive order shows that he mistakes the governorship for a dictatorship. Our state is in a devastating situation today because the governor has driven our state down a road full of potholes for the past six years...."