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In Absence Of State Budget, Malloy To Zero Out Funding To 85 Districts

Chion Wolf

School districts could see even more severe cuts than originally proposed in Governor Dannel Malloy's executive order, which has proposed to slash another $100 million from schools.

The governor's original executive order, passed in late June, cut school funding statewide by 25 percent. After revising it -- and only a few weeks before school starts -- he has now proposed to slash another three percent.

Speaking in Hartford, the governor expressed his frustration with state lawmakers being unable to pass a budget deep into the fiscal year. 

"This is not optimal," Malloy said. "This is far from optimal. This is something I've done my best to avoid."

Originally the governor's order was to completely cut off state money from 31 towns. The revised order cuts funding from 85 towns.

In a statement, Senate Republican Len Fasano said Malloy is exceeding his authority with these cuts, which he said are "illegal."

Malloy, however, is proposing to fund the neediest districts the full amount they got last year, which is a change from his earlier order, which cut money to some of these districts and added money to others.

There are also deep cuts proposed for special education funding, an expense that has ballooned for many districts over the years.

Absent a state budget, these cuts would take effect. Schools that had budgeted to get state money have had to reallocate funds, cut programs and staff, delay school, or put a freeze on hiring.

In an earlier interview with WNPR, Fran Rabinowitz, director of the Connecticut Association of School Superintendents, said many districts are already operating on a bare bones budget.

"In some districts, I would say to you that the cuts are cuts that really will affect children," she said, "because frankly, we've been cutting for several years now."

The first round of state money is sent to districts on October 1.

David finds and tells stories about education and learning for WNPR radio and its website. He also teaches journalism and media literacy to high school students, and he starts the year with the lesson: “Conflicts of interest: Real or perceived? Both matter.” He thinks he has a sense of humor, and he also finds writing in the third person awkward, but he does it anyway.
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