I have to agree with Gov. Dannel Malloy, though I think I will expand his statements to include his own party: The GOP budget is a “hot mess,” but so is the alternative.
As far as schools are concerned, the biggest difference between the governor’s stop gap budget and the GOP plan is one would hurt everyone and the Republican budget gives huge increases to towns that don’t need it.
Either way, when it comes down to it, unless an eleventh-hour budget gets passed, the current situation pretty much guarantees that kids will lose out.
What Happens If Malloy Vetos The Budget
If Governor Malloy vetos the Republican budget, which passed both the House and the Senate last week — a likely scenerio— then the governor’s executive order budget would kick in for school district’s second quarter grant payments.
In concrete terms, that means a whole lot of k-12 schools relying on grants that go out on October 1st, will go without.
For more on Malloy’s executive order budget: here’s passed coverage
Malloy’s executive order cuts $550 million from the Education Cost Sharing(ECS) grant education, which is where schools get the bulk of their state funding. As a result, if no budget is passed and signed into law, 85 towns will see a cut in education funding.
There’s a small silver lining to this plan, while many towns will see deep cuts, the state’s 30 lowest performing districts will remain flat funded, because the governor’s plan heavily redistributes funding.
Unfortunately, that doesn’t save these districts from cuts entirely.
According to the Connecticut Mirror, with cuts to smaller grants, for example, state grants to muncipalities that fund longer school days and reading tutors,Bridgeport is estimated to lose $8 million as of October 1st, New Haven $7 million, Norwalk $5 million and Waterbury $4 million.
What Happens If Malloy Signs It?
The alternative isn’t exactly any better.
While the Republican plan may seem more generous on the surface because it increases ECS funding by $68 million, money isnt redistributed as equitably.
In total ECS dollars, districts like New Haven and Hartford are seeing huge increases in funding, but by percentage so are wealthy districts like Greenwich — which is recieving an insane 955 percent jump.
Worse yet, this is at the expense of grants, like the alliance district grant, that poorer districts rely on.
I would argue, even with increases to the main grant, the GOP budget could be magnitudes more desvastinging because of cuts to municpal aid.
In Hartford, there is talk that if signed into law, the republican budget could force the city into bankruptcy — a move that would surely fall on the capital’s already troubled public schools.
Essentially, either way students in the state’s urban centers — some of the most vunerable kids — will feel the brunt of school funding cuts.