East Lyme and the Lyme-Old Lyme school districts are knee-deep in the budget process for fiscal year 2013-2014 but the biggest unknown remains how much money the state will be providing to help fund education this year.
Yesterday, Gov. Dannel Malloy began to answer that question and the news is promising for local municipalities, many of which had feared cuts would be coming at the state level.
Gov. Malloy announced a proposal to significantly increase the Educational Cost Sharing (ECS) aid to 117 municipalities, while maintaining level funding to the remaining cities and towns. That is something the Connecticut Conference of Municipalities had been asking for this budget season.
The proposed package includes additional aid to target needed resources and increase support to the state’s 30 underperforming Alliance District schools.
“Last year, with strong bipartisan support, we passed an education reform package that invests in our schools and prepares our students for real-world jobs. Today, we are reaffirming that commitment with additional funding so that we can build on the good work being done by our teachers and education leaders,” said Governor Malloy. “We have an obligation to each and every student in our schools to provide them with a quality public education so they can compete in the 21st Century economy. By recommitting these resources, we are taking a giant step forward toward achieving that goal.”
Under the Governor’s proposal, a $50.7 million increase in ECS aid for fiscal year 2014 and a $101.5 million increase in fiscal year 2015 will provide enhanced education aid to 117 cities and towns, as well as focusing aid to Alliance Districts — 30 schools districts that educate approximately 41 percent of all Connecticut students.
As part of planning, Alliance Districts will develop comprehensive reform strategies that emphasize three key areas: teacher evaluation and support; implementation of the Common Core State Standards; and the turnaround of lower performing schools.
“The students of Connecticut will benefit enormously from today's announcement,” said Department of Education Commissioner Stefan Pryor. “These additional resources will help position our state’s school districts to advance key reforms, such as teacher evaluation, implementation of the Common Core, and turnaround of low-performing schools.”
The Governor also announced a new collaboration between the State Department of Education and the two teachers unions, CEA and AFT-CT, to enable a partnership between local districts and unions to attract top teaching candidates to Connecticut schools, retain our best teachers, and provide advancement opportunities for teachers over the course of their careers.
Funding for recruiting and retaining top teachers will be allocated to two or three districts through a competitive grant process. The Governor expects to make $2 to $3 million available for these efforts.
This proposal is part of the Governor’s legislative package, which will be unveiled on February 6.
This article includes a press release from the Governor's office.