HARTFORD —State Representative Tim LeGeyt (R-17) and State Senator Kevin Witkos (R-8) blasted Governor Malloy for his announcement last Friday that he would slash education funding to 139 municipalities across the state including Canton and Avon. Under the governor’s new plan, both Canton and Avon would lose all of their Education Cost Sharing (ECS) funding for FY 18 – a whopping $4.13 million hit.
Rep. LeGeyt today stated, “Last week, we saw the governor state his agenda and priorities in an executive order that slashes education funding across our state, including Canton and Avon. House Republicans have offered three fully vetted budgets during the legislative session that would have increased education funding to all cities and towns, maintained funding for critical programs to those most in need, and not raised taxes on our citizens. The Democrat-led majority has shirked its legislative responsibility by not producing a budget, and now the governor has instilled general panic among the education community, just as our students prepare to begin their first day of school. It is disheartening and downright shameful that legislative Democrats are playing party over people, and in this case, the education of our children. What’s even more disingenuous is the bait and switch tactic that awaits taxpayers, as Democrats have promised to raise taxes in any proposal they put forth.”
Sen. Witkos said, “It is beyond devastating and enraging to see this plan from the governor. Under his executive order every single town I represent would lose significant funding. It would hit municipalities big and small, urban and rural. On top of the pain, the order also appears to violate state law. What’s so frustrating is that our state should have never gotten to this point. Legislative Republicans have proposed multiple budgets throughout the year that would have protected our towns, cities and schools. Senate Republicans also proposed a new education funding formula that took into consideration the recent court ruling that requires the state to adopt a real formula to fairly distribute money to schools. Our plan would have increased ECS dollars and distributed funding to towns based on factors including need, poverty, wealth, population growth and decline, and number of English language learners. Unfortunately, all of these efforts were denied a vote in the legislature by Democrat legislative leaders who are the only ones able to call a vote during special session. Instead of focusing on the budget, Democrat lawmakers focused on getting the governor’s labor deal approved to lock in benefits and wage increases. That labor deal has created chaos, as the governor’s executive order makes abundantly clear. So while the upper echelon of state union employees now know what to expect for next year, our students don’t, our teachers don’t, the parents of children with disabilities don’t, and property taxpayers don’t. It’s not right. Our children deserve better. Despite our budgets and proposals being rejected in the past, Republicans are not giving up and we are continuing to push for a budget that fairly funds education.”
The legislators noted that had any of the budget proposals put forward by legislative Republicans since April been adopted, ECS funding to municipalities would have been preserved without raising taxes, and this cut to Canton and Avon’s education funding would have been unnecessary.