We Are United in Opposing Education Cuts

April 15, 2016

I wanted to share with you this recent article in The Day of New London. Thank you to the hundreds of taxpayers who continue to sign our petition at www.senatorlinares.com .

Shoreline Legislators, Officials Oppose State Education Cuts

By Kimberly Drelich
The Day of New London

Published April 14, 2016

State legislators and local officials from shoreline communities came together yesterday to oppose proposed state education cuts they said would hurt small towns.

Twenty-eight towns, including Old Saybrook, would not receive any state education cost sharing grants under the governor’s revised budget proposal, which local officials said would reduce school programs and burden taxpayers.


The Appropriations Committee’s budget proposal also recommends cuts to education grants that the officials said would have a dire impact on local communities.

“We’re here today to demand that the fiscal irresponsibilities in Hartford that have carried on for year after year, that have created deficit after deficit, are not balanced on the backs of our young children,” said State Representative Jesse MacLachlan (R-35), “and that those decisions do not result in an increased burden on the taxpayers and property taxpayers of our very hard-working, dedicated small towns.”

The budget proposed by the Appropriations Committee would cut about $1.5 million from Clinton and about $240,000 from Westbrook.

The Old Saybrook school system would lose about half of its estimated $646,664 in education funding under the Appropriations Committee’s proposal and all of its funding under the governor’s proposal.

At the April 13 news conference on the steps of Clinton’s Andrews Memorial Town Hall, MacLachlan, State Senator Art Linares, Jr. (R-33), State Representative Noreen Kokoruda (R-101), and officials from Old Saybrook, Westbrook, Clinton, and Lyme-Old Lyme implored the state to restore cuts to education aid.

Kokoruda said that shoreline communities and towns with small student enrollments are being “penalized.

“We talk about poverty in our cities: It is throughout our state, and this part of our state has been shortchanged by this whole legislature for years,” said Kokoruda.

Jan G. Perruccio, superintendent of Old Saybrook schools, said she feels there is a lack of understanding about the shoreline.

“In Old Saybrook, we have increasing numbers of English Language Learner students, we have increasing poverty [and] free and reduced lunch applications, and we are, according to the governor’s budget, getting absolutely no money for ECS next year, and that will have a significant impact,” said Perruccio.

Governor Dannel P. Malloy’s revised budget proposal, released April 12, proposes less severe cuts than the Appropriations Committee proposal for some school districts, but more severe cuts for others.

It would eliminate ECS grants to Westbrook, Old Saybrook, Essex, Madison, Lyme, and Old Lyme, as well as 22 other communities.

According to budget documents, Malloy’s proposal maintains ECS funding for Alliance Districts, but provides no funding for minimum-aid towns.

Malloy said in a statement on his budget proposal to address the $922 million deficit project for Fiscal Year 2017 that “we have an obligation as elected officials to tackle the full scope of our challenge.”

“That means we must align our spending with revenue we actually have, not the revenue we wish we had,” he added. “Our expectations need to change—we cannot afford to fund everything we always have. And we need to change the way we budget…”

At the news conference, Clinton First Selectman Bruce Farmer, Clinton Superintendent of Schools Jack Cross, Clinton Board of Education Chair Annaliese Spaziano, and Westbrook School Superintendent Patricia Ciccone also spoke in opposition to the education cost sharing cuts.

Linares said these proposed cuts “threaten the opportunity for our students to get a quality education locally.”

Rather than cutting education, Linares said, the budget proposal should look to overtime, restructuring the government, and pension reform.

“We have to look there first before we even think about cutting education to our children,” he said. “That’s what we’re standing here today for.”