Bridgeport Mayor Bill Finch and the State Department of Education have struck a deal to allow the city to make up for the $3.3 million education funding shortfall through in-kind services, a reduction in the school board’s contribution to workers compensation payments, and additional state funding.
The mayor issued a press release and letter from state Education Commissioner Stefan Pryor and state Budget Director Benjamin Barnes on Sunday evening announcing the deal. [Only in Bridgeport, 11/24/2013]
The resolution was announced a day before the school board was scheduled to vote on the Minimum Budget Requirement issue. During the last board meeting, all but two members, Tom Mulligan and Leticia Colon, agreed that the city should be held accountable for the missing funds.
Mulligan disagreed, noting the city may not have the funds to give.
The State requires towns receiving ECS Grants (Educational Cost Sharing Grants) to invest a specific percentage of city funds toward education. The Minimum Budget Requirement law was changed last year and now requires the lowest performing districts to increase spending on education by one percentage for four consecutive years. That means Bridgeport is required to contribute at least $58.9 million for the 2013-2014 school year, $3.2 million higher than what was appropriated last school year. So far, the city council has only come up with $55.6 million. [OLR Research Report, ECS Minimum Budget Requirement for FY12 and FY13, 7/1/2011]
The State provides $231.7 million, but if the deal goes through, they will be giving Bridgeport an additional $1.2 million by the end of the fiscal year. [Connecticut Post, 11/24/2013]
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