Area Legislators Supporting Bill to Provide Relief to Towns, Taxpayers

May 18, 2015

Area legislators are applauding the Connecticut House of Representatives’ passage of legislation to increase flexibility for towns to reduce their minimum budget requirement (MBR) due to a drop in student enrollment.

The bill, which now heads to the State Senate, relaxes current rules that strictly limit towns’ ability to cut spending in their education budgets.

“I strongly support this legislation and co-sponsored it,” said State Representative Devin Carney, who represents Lyme, Old Lyme, Old Saybrook, and Westbrook. “Schools within the 23rd district are very successful and I trust that any decision pertaining to education can be best handled at a local level, without the state’s intervention. Due to declining enrollment over the past few years, it is now critical that school districts be able to adjust their budgets accordingly. This bill will grant school districts that ability.”

“The proposed changes to the MBR formula will grant our towns more freedom in tailoring their budgets to meet educational needs, especially when enrollment is down,” said State Representative Jesse MacLachlan, who represents Clinton, Killingworth, and Westbrook. “I am happy to vote in favor of this legislation, which promotes decision-making and control on a local level. Our small towns deserve this.”

“The 34th district is home to a number of high performing, small schools that will significantly benefit from this legislation,” said State Representative Melissa Ziobron, who represents Colchester, East Haddam and East Hampton. “These types of decisions should be made at a local level and not be mandated by the state, with a one-size-fits-all approach. I am looking forward to the passage of this bill and was glad to support it.”

“This legislation would help provide relief to taxpayers,” Sen. Art Linares said. “Connecticut’s current law requires each school district to budget the same amount for education as it did in the previous fiscal year. Under the current regulations, the state can assess a penalty in its funding for districts that spend less than their previous year’s education budget by more than half of 1 percent. The new formula in this bill includes a new way to calculate the per student decrease and it raises the percentage of the overall budget that can be reduced due to declining populations. I look forward to voting in favor of this legislation.” Linares represents Chester, Clinton, Colchester, Deep River, East Haddam, East Hampton, Essex, Haddam, Lyme, Old Saybrook, Portland, and Westbrook.