DATE: August 2, 2017
TO: Governor Malloy, State Representatives, and State Senators
Re: Without State Budget, Children Lose
The What Will Our Children Lose Coalition members are very concerned that lack of action on the State Budget is causing very serious ramifications across the State, especially with respect to our students. The summer months provide time to implement plans so that the school year opens as seamlessly as possible. These include, but are not limited, to: hiring and training of staff; ordering and receiving needed supplies and books; making needed facility improvements, etc.
Unfortunately, the delay in passing a state budget has interrupted the school opening process to the point that student learning will be negatively impacted. The following scenarios are examples of this:
- The first grader who begins school with one teacher and establishes a great relationship with that teacher may have a different teacher the following week or month because his/her teacher will be riffed and he will be placed in another classroom with increased class size. The relationship must be built again and valuable learning time is lost and can’t be recovered.
- The high school student who has enrolled in a Spanish course may receive a study period instead because the Spanish teacher is riffed and there is no room in the other Spanish classes. The master schedule at the high school which has been carefully put together for months is turned upside down to accommodate new schedules and again, valuable learning time is lost.
- The new teacher who has spent the last few months planning for her class and began on August 1st to actually spend time in her new classroom preparing it for the children so that it is welcoming and “ready to go” may be told after school begins that she no longer has a position.
School districts are also reporting that the uncertainty of state funding has already resulted in the following:
- Delayed the rehiring of non-tenured teaching staff causing viable candidates to go elsewhere. One district has 50 teachers waiting to find out if they will have a position in 3 weeks.
- Freeze the hiring of other positions
- Delayed the ordering of supplies and books which will impact student instruction and learning
- Freeze of non-payroll expenses
- One school has delayed the opening of school one week to conserve cash for as long as possible
- Delayed facility repairs and upgrades, which are important to get done during the summer when schools are empty.
- Delayed in starting capital projects due to cash flow concerns from lack of approved State Budget
These are only a few examples of the negative impact that the budget delay has already had on our school children and staffs. We have clearly reached a tipping point in our ability to fulfill our most important responsibility: to properly educate our children.
We strongly urge both chambers of the legislature and the Governor’s office to get together as soon as possible and pass a budget that adequately funds public education so that our State and school districts can proceed to operate as they were intended to do. Any further delays will only exacerbate an already tenuous situation
About the Coalition:
Created by the collaborative efforts of the Connecticut Associaton 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.