Special Legislative Session
Issues and Concerns
As the Legislature convenes in special session, the What Will Our Children Lose Coalition (WWOCL), composed of the CT Association of School Business Officials (CASBO), The CT Association of Boards of Education (CABE), the CT Association of Schools (CAS) and the CT Association of Public School Superintendents (CAPSS) is concerned about several issues that need to be addressed during this session. Our concerns and recommendations follow:
Level Fund Aid to Education
We understand the fiscal issues facing the State, however, further reductions in education funding would negatively impact many important programs and services for our students. These include larger class sizes, reduction in support services (i.e., numeracy and literacy), elimination of extracurricular activities, reduction in curricular offerings and delaying or eliminating facility maintenance. We recommend that the biennial budget (FY18 and FY19) level fund education aid for all towns, including targeted funding for Alliance Districts.
Keep TRB funding at State Level
Transfer of responsibility for any portion of TRB would hurt municipalities and school districts, who are already struggling with the flat funding of ECS for many years.
Approve School Construction Funding
Many school districts are awaiting this State funding in order to proceed with critical projects already approved at the local level.
Department of Developmental Services
DSS should be responsible for the residential cost of special education placements that it makes.
More Flexibility for Medicaid Reimbursement
Over the years, all schools have reviewed the cost/benefit of this endeavor and many schools have concluded that the cost of this labor-intensive effort to gather the data, file the reports and monitor the progress etc., is not worth the small benefit they would receive. We strongly recommend that the Legislature leave the current voluntary language in place that give school districts a choice to participate in Medicaid reimbursement. Please do not create a new unfunded mandate.
Extend Minimum Budget Requirement (MBR)
We strongly recommend that the Legislature extend the current law on MBR, with its reductions and exemptions, for at least two more years.
“Non Education” Expenditures
State statute specifies the duties of boards of education, including providing an appropriate learning environment that involves, among many other things, equitable allocation of resources, supplies, equipment, technology, maintenance of facilities and a safe school setting. In order to meet these statutory responsibilities, boards are given the authority to exercise control over all aspects of providing education for our students. We have and continue to work cooperatively with municipalities to meet our common goals of providing quality education for our students in a very effective and cost-efficient manner. To interrupt this process by giving municipal officials control over aspects of the education budget would be counterproductive and disruptive.
As always, WWOCL remains willing to discuss any of these issues with any and all State policy makers and is ready to assist them as they meet the difficult challenges ahead.
ABOUT THE COALITION
Created by the collaborative efforts of the Connecticut Association of Boards of Education, Connecticut School Business Officials, Connecticut Association of Public School Superintendents and Connecticut Association of Schools. As advocates for public education, these organizations pledge to provide information to the community and statewide education leaders in order to find attainable results for their school districts.