Cheshire residents rally to preserve school funding, state aid

September 15, 2017


State Sen. Len Suzio, R-Meriden, listens to constituents Thursday at Cheshire Town Hall during an event billed as a ‘Rally to Protect Cheshire.’ The discussion centered on the impacts of the state budget on the town. Contributed

CHESHIRE – Town officials and residents urged Sen. Len Suzio, R-Meriden, to fight for a state budget that will not cut school funding and cause devastation to municipal aid.

The rally, held in Town Hall, focused on the potential impact of Gov. Dannel P. Malloy’s more than $10 million in state aid cuts to the town.

Suzio said the town received about $14 million in state aid last year, and if Malloy’s proposed budget is passed, the town will receive just $900,000.

“We need to put partisan politics behind us and to solve the issues we’re having,” Suzio told the handful of residents and town officials in attendance.

There was a panel comprised of Suzio, Superintendent Jeffrey Solan and Town Council Chairman Rob Oris.

Oris implored residents to use their rights and to take action in saving aid for their town.

“We need to rise up and be a voice against the budget crisis that’s going on up at the Capitol,” Oris said. “This is critical – we are at a point where we can’t plan for our town’s future because of the mismanagement that’s going on in Hartford.”

If state leaders allow the budget standoff to drag into October, Malloy’s more drastic cuts to local funding would occur, including to education equalization grants, the largest single subsidy to local governments.

Oris said the town already has lost $18,000 in aid since August, and if a budget isn’t passed by October, it is slated to lose about $1 million by the end of September and more than $2 million in October.

Suzio, who represents Cheshire, Meriden, Middletown and Middlefield, said legislators were in the process of voting on a budget Thursday night, but he also noted that a document for debate had not been presented.

“We need to fix it today and not wait for this to be a crisis,” resident and local business owner Michael Evans said. “We need to take programs that work well in other states and try using them. We need a budget by Oct. 1.”