Sen. Fasano: Gov. Malloy Shares Responsibility

September 14, 2016

“Not Rell” Response Absurd

“Ducking and dodging the issue is not leadership”

In response to Gov. Dannel P. Malloy’s Sep. 13 comments regarding Superior Court Judge Thomas Moukawsher’s Sep. 7 decision in Connecticut Coalition for Justice in Education Funding, Inc. v. Jodi Rell, Sen. Minority Leader Len Fasano (R-North Haven) today issued the following statement:

“When asked for his opinion on the ruling and whether the state should appeal, Gov. Malloy responded that his ‘name is not Rell’, as if he bears no responsibility for the court’s ruling or authority over the state’s response.

“Gov. Malloy’s answer is both absurd and factually erroneous. While the court case dated back to the Rell administration, the court’s opinion rests squarely on the actions of his administration and the current Democratic legislative leadership.

“Recent arbitrary ad hoc and unjustified manipulations of the Education Cost Sharing formula formed the basis of the court’s finding that our education funding system is unconstitutional. The judge writes in his opinion that “In place of the (ECS) formula, since 2013-14, the legislature has simply adopted set dollar amounts of aid for each town.”

“The public, as well as teachers, parents, municipal leaders and other stakeholders, deserve honesty and leadership from Governor Malloy.

“The judge found that from 2013 forward, the allotment of education money failed the rational and verifiable standard.

“While Connecticut has been under one-party rule, the Democratic majorities manipulated the funding formula.

“They robbed money from poor municipalities which provided the justification for the judge to not only declare their funding scheme unconstitutional, but then proceed to intrude upon a wide range of policies affecting teachers and students. As a result, we are at risk of a judicial takeover of our entire education system.

“Did Gov. Malloy support robbing money from Bridgeport and other poor cities when he signed the budgets that included these funding cuts?

“Will Gov. Malloy ask the Attorney General to appeal this ruling to avoid a judicial takeover of our education system?

“Ducking and dodging the issue is not leadership.”

Attached below are excerpts from Judge Moukawsher’s court opinion:

  • ”In place of the formula, since 2013-14, the legislature has simply adopted set dollar amounts of aid for each town. It did the same thing for several years before 2013-14 by overriding the formula…”
  • “There is no room for a slack system to support cities like Bridgeport. Yet while the plaintiffs were in court complaining of the lack of a principled system, the legislature started moving money from poor towns to rich ones….”
  • “Throughout 2016, the state has faced a bone-crushing fiscal crisis. The state knows there couldn’t be a worse time to move education money from struggling poor districts to rich districts. But the state did it anyway in May 2016. Under the changes adopted, education aid to the state’s poorest districts with the exception of Danbury and Stamford was cut by over $5.3 million…..”
  • “In the same bill, while significantly cutting funds for some wealthy districts- without formula or explanation the state also protected education aid increases for other comparatively wealthy towns in the state amounting to over $5.1 million in extra money…”
  • “There are no millions to be diverted in the face of financial circumstances that are choking poor Connecticut towns to death. Based on prior budgets, Bridgeport had been expecting an extra $8 million for 2016-17. Without the extra funding, the school district was facing a $15 million funding gap just to maintain current services when the state took nearly a million dollars more away from it and gave it to wealthier towns….”
  • “An approach that allows rich towns to raid money desperately needed by poor towns makes a mockery of the state’s constitutional duty to provide adequate educational opportunities to all students…”