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CCM: Connecticut Education Funding Lags by $763 Million

The lobbying group for towns wants the state to limit education mandates and increase education aid.

The state’s main lobbying group for towns is urging Connecticut lawmakers to increase education funding to ease property tax burdens in communities.

In a report issued Tuesday the Connecticut Conference of Municipalities said the state is underfunding local education mandates by $763 million this year alone.

In New London, the 2012-2013 grant has $22,481,754 in anticipated Education Cost Sharing revenues. The City Council's initial anticipated $809,000 in additional ECS funds that would be allocated to the district under Gov. Dannel Malloy’s budget plan.

However, Dr. Stephen Adamowski - a special master appointed by the state to the New London Public Schools - said these funds could not be included in the budget because Superintendent Nicholas Fischer needs to submit a one-year form plan for the district before the money is available. The Board of Education has formally applied for these funds, which are open to the 30 lowest performing “Alliance Districts” of Connecticut’s 167 school districts.

CCM is gearing up for the next session of Connecticut’s General Assembly, which begins early in 2013, where it will push lawmakers to increase state aid for education.

In a press conference yesterday at the state capitol, Jim Finley, CCM’s executive director, said the state has “chronically underfunded” education grants to towns for years, forcing local communities to increase property taxes to pay for schools.

CCM’s lobbying efforts this year will be twofold; It wants the state to back off some education mandates that are not being properly funded and it wants the state to increase education funding overall to towns.

"Municipalities across Connecticut have had to divert resources from non-education local public services in order to pay for the increasing costs of education because the state has not kept its funding bargain with school districts and with property taxpayers," the Stamford Advocate quotes Finley as saying.

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