ECS proposal elicits legislative reactions

February 8, 2017

Republicans in the legislature are questioning the political motives behind Gov. Dannel P. Malloy’s plan to redirect education funding from financially stronger towns and cities to weaker ones.
GOP leaders and rank-and-file lawmakers on Tuesday voiced suspicions Malloy may be targeting communities that Republicans represent to benefit to municipalities that Democrats represent.
The Democratic governor a day earlier outlined proposed changes to local school funding that will send more state dollars to the neediest towns and cities at the expense of other municipalities deemed in better fiscal shape.

He will flesh out his redistribution scheme in the two-year budget plan and an accompanying budget speech that he delivers to the legislature today.
Sen. Craig A. Miner, R-Litchfield, expressed concern that Malloy’s plan could end up costing the 10 towns in Litchfield County that he represents. He also questioned its constitutionality.
“Does his constitution say the children in Litchfield are any less deserving of public education than those in Waterbury? I want to know what his constitution says,” Miner said. “If the state has argued that we have an obligation under our constitution to fund education, I want to see him come out from underneath that obligation just because you live in Morris.

The Connecticut Constitution obligates the state to provide a free and adequate public education to all students.

Rep. Arthur J. O’Neill, R-Southbury, said politics appears to be driving the governor’s proposed changes to the formula for distributing Education Cost Sharing grants, the state’s main subsidy for local schools.
In his view, Malloy is seeking to shift funding from Republican-represented communities to Democratic-leaning towns and cities.