Stratford’s Future Brighter in Bipartisan Budget

November 17, 2017

By: State Senator Kevin Kelly

After weeks of negotiation, the General Assembly was finally able to pass a two-year state budget. This budget not only takes the first steps in making the structural changes that our state desperately needs, but is also protects Stratford from the governor’s harmful executive order which contained millions and millions in devastating cuts.

In this bipartisan budget the town of Stratford will receive $25.7 million in total municipal aid in fiscal year 2018 and $26.8 million in town aid in fiscal year 2019. While this does represent a small cut, the amount of funding that we were able to obtain for Stratford is substantial when compared to other municipalities across the state.

In addition to protecting a vast majority of town aid, this budget sets a new course for a brighter future for our town by substantially increasing education funding. For example, between the years of 2008 and 2017 education funding for the town of Stratford increased from roughly $19 million to roughly $21 million. This funding was arbitrarily decided with no real education cost sharing formula and was often distributed in a political nature.

However, with the new bipartisan budget Republicans insisted on a real education cost sharing formula, based on need that takes into account items like town wealth, English language learners and how many students are eligible for reduced price lunch.

Under this new, needs-based formula, between the years of 2017 and 2028 Stratford will be receiving $32 million in education funding – a significant increase compared to the last 20 years. These education dollars will provide for a better future for Stratford students and help them to succeed in life.

While there were compromises made during these challenging economic times, I think we can be proud of the work that was done in this final budget. It enacts a strong spending and bonding cap, protects our seniors, works for our middle-class families, and will provide for a significant increase in education funding throughout the next ten years for the students of Stratford.