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Governor’s Proposed Budget

Current budget projections by the General Assembly’s Office of Fiscal Analysis, show a budget deficit of $72.2 million for current FY 2016 and estimated deficit of $507million in FY 2017.  With that backdrop, Governor Malloy presented his FY 2016-2017 budget adjustments proposal during his state of the state address to the General Assembly at noon today.

In a major departure, Malloy’s budget proposal would establish a new method of allocating funds to agencies.  Instead of budgeting individual line items, the Governor has proposed that agencies receive aggregate sums from which they will budget for individual programs.   It provides state agencies greater discretion over the money it allocates, but it also requires them to post detailed information online explaining how they are spending the money.  Many legislators have expressed concern that this proposal will dilute the General Assembly’s authority, but it is not yet clear if they will oppose adoption of this style of budgeting.

The Appropriations Committee will hold a series of budget hearings over the next couple of weeks and then work in subcommittees to develop their alternative budget proposal.  They must vote a proposal out of committee by March 31.  Then, House and Senate leadership will begin negotiations with the administration.  A final compromise budget package is expected to be passed before the legislative session adjourns at midnight on May 4.

 

Below are the key highlights of the Governor’s budget proposal that impact AFT Connecticut members.  As more details become available, we will share them with you.  You can read the entire budget, summary documents, a PowerPoint presentation and the text of the Governor’s speech on Governor Malloy’s website:

http://portal.ct.gov/Departments_and_Agencies/Office_of_the_Governor/Gov__Malloy_s_FY_2017_Midterm_Budget_Adjustments/

 

OPM Secretary Barnes also suggested that if revenue projections do not improve, the FY 2018-FY 2019 biennial budget will require an additional 9% in cuts to discretionary spending.

 

The Governor’s budget plan includes:

 

  • No tax increases
  • $569.5 million in overall cuts:
    • $90.5 in ongoing savings from cuts made in December 2015 special session
    • $118.2 million in new spending cuts
    • 75% ($360M) cut in overall across the board spending reductions
  • $10.6 million built-in surplus
  • Personal property tax exemption for businesses with property under $10,000 (cost $6M)
  • $31M in cuts to various PILOT grants

 

PreK-12/PSRP

  • Flat funds ECS at FY 2016 levels, which is essentially a $11.5M cut
  • Consolidates most programs SDE into Agency Operations and cuts that line item by $53M. Among the cuts are:
    • $1.3M from school transportation
    • $1.5M for adult education
    • $2.5M from priority school districts
    • $8M from excess cost grants
    • $3M from Open Choice
    • $18.6M from magnet schools
  • Reduces staff in SDE Central Office and CTHSS $841K
  • Eliminates general grant funding for RESCs $750K, but maintains $350K for minority teacher recruitment efforts
  • Eliminates Adult Ed pilot programs in Manchester, Meriden, New Haven $400K
  • Eliminates CommPACT Schools funding $350K
  • Eliminates funding for Adult Alternative HS and Adult Reading Incentive Programs $200K
  • Eliminates grant funding for after school programs $172K
  • Eliminates line item for CTHSS and merges its funding with SDE as a whole, even though they have their own Board of Education
  • Eliminates funding for Even Start $452K
  • Eliminates funding for Early Literacy Program $142K
  • Cuts support for School Based Health Centers $477K
  • Teachers’ Retirement Board
    • Cuts Retiree Health Service Cost $147K
    • Cuts Municipal Retiree Health Insurance Cost $54K
    • Assumes restructuring of TRB unfunded liabilities

 

Higher Ed

  • Block grants include fringe benefits for General Fund supported employees and create a separate grant to cover pension liabilities for tuition funded employees.
  • University of Connecticut
    • UConn Storrs block grant cut $19M
    • Adds $5.4M for Next Generation Connecticut
  • University of Connecticut Health Center
    • UConn Health Center block grant cut $12M
    • Allocates $90K to Hospital Roundtable for implementation of Public Act 15-146
    • Preserves UConn Health Center fringe benefit differential for Dempsey employees
    • Added $3.2M for BioSicence
  • Board of Regents*
    • Adds $14.6M for Community Tech Colleges
    • Adds $40.6M for CSUs
    • Adds $2.3 M for a new incentive fund for outcomes based financing to promote student success for low income students

*We have been notified that there are errors in the Board of Regents block grants and the published budget book includes incorrect numbers.  We will forward corrected information when it becomes available.

 

 
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Posted by on February 3, 2016 in Uncategorized

 

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Meet State Legislators Face to Face

Just a quick reminder that our annual legislative conference is next Saturday at the State Capitol — and we want to be sure that your voice is heard:

WHEN: Saturday, February 6, from 9:00AM to 2:00PM (registration opens at 8:30AM).
WHERE: Legislative Office Building, located at 300 Capitol Avenue in Hartford (free, easy access parking is available in the adjacent garage)

And it’s not too late to RSVP to attend, if you haven’t already. Click here to let us know you’ll be joining us so we have a solid head count for breakfast and lunch.

The 2016 legislative session opens next week, so it’s particularly important for state lawmakers to see a big crowd of union members at the conference. They need to hear firsthand what matters to educators, healthcare professionals, higher education faculty, public employees, and retirees.

I hope to see you next Saturday at the Legislative Office Building in Hartford.

In solidarity,

Teri Merisotis
Member Mobilization Coordinator, AFT Connecticut
 
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Posted by on January 27, 2016 in Uncategorized

 

CEA Calls for Test Scores to Be Dropped from TEVAL

Union Calls For Dropping State Test Scores From Teachers’ Eval

Kathleen Megan –  Hartford Courant
Teachers Union Wants To Drop Student Performance On State Test From Teacher Evaluations

 The state’s largest teachers’ union said Monday that the state should permanently eliminate students’ scores on the state’s standardized test from consideration in teachers’ evaluations.

Mark Waxenberg, executive director of the Connecticut Education Association, said that teachers are spending weeks preparing for standardized tests, “stealing time away from the teaching and learning that is necessary to the students in order to grow academically, socially and emotionally.”

Four years ago, the State Board of Education approved a new teacher evaluation system that included standardized test scores  that counted for almost a quarter of a teacher’s review in the grades where the test was administered.

The linkage between students’ performance on the test and a teacher’s evaluation was seen as key to education reforms promoted by Gov. Dannel P. Malloy as well as the federal U.S. Department of Education.

Waxenberg said the recently-passed federal Every Student Succeeds Act leaves it up to the states to decide whether to link the standardized test to a teacher’s evaluation.

He said the union is proposing that the state continue — as it has under the waiver — not to include state test scores as a factor in the evaluations.

The union is recommending less complicated guidelines for the teacher evaluations, calling for 50 percent of the test to be based on “multiple indicators” of student growth and development; 40 percent on classroom observation or review; and up to 10 percent on professional responsibility. The state’s current system relies on six different categories including parent or peer feedback and the performance of the whole school.

Waxenberg said the proposal “returns precious teaching time back to students and encourages creativity, which has been sidelined for the past few years under the ‘test baby test’ mentality promoted by corporate America.”

Earlier this month the CEA recommended eliminating the Smarter Balanced test and replacing it with another test or possibly doing away with a standardized test completely.

State officials and other advocates for education have supported the linkage between the state standardized test scores and teacher evaluations.

Jeff Villar, executive director of the Connecticut Council on Education Reform, said he favors retaining that linkage and added, “With the productive involvement of teachers, I believe we can improve the system and make the connection more meaningful.”

Abbe Smith, spokeswoman for the state Department of Education, didn’t comment directly on the CEA’s proposal, but said “we look forward to continuing to listen to everyone’s ideas about how we can strengthen the educator evaluation process to deliver even better outcomes for children.”

Jennifer Alexander, chief executive officer of the Connecticut Coalition for Achievement Now, which has supported linkage between the state test and the evaluations said, “We must have an evaluation system in place to identify struggling teachers and ensure they are able to receive the support they need to master their craft and ensure student improvement. ”

She said that a measure of “student achievement growth” must be part of the evaluation system.

Waxeberg said the plan is for the CEA to bring their proposal to a meeting next week of the Performance Evaluation Advisory Council  — the group that is charged with making recommendations on the teachers evaluation.

Four years ago, it was the Performance Evaluation Advisory Council that made the recommendation of a teacher evaluation system that included standardized test scores as a factor. The CEA is a member of the council, but Waxenberg said the union representatives at the meeting abstained from voting on that proposal.

Smith said the state has invested $13.5 million in the implementation of the current educator evaluation system, with $4 million of that used to train evaluators and for professional learning.

 

Read the full document of CEA proposals here

 
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Posted by on January 26, 2016 in Teacher Evaluation, Uncategorized

 

CEA Proposes New Evaluation Guidelines to Promote Student Learning

CEA Proposes New Evaluation Guidelines to Promote Student Learning

BLOGCEA

TVAL NewsConf 1-25-163“The goal of teacher evaluation is to strengthen educator support and practice and to improve student learning,” CEA President Sheila Cohen told reporters at a news conference at the Legislative Office Building in Hartford today. “With 43,000 educator-members across the state, we’ve had enormous opportunity to assess the new evaluation system against that goal. After extensively polling and surveying our members, we have concluded that our state’s current teacher evaluation guidelines are actually detrimental to student learning.”

Saying that the current teacher evaluation guidelines result in too much bureaucracy for teachers and administrators and lost student learning time, CEA leaders today called for changes to improve and simplify evaluation and professional development.

CEA’s new proposed evaluation guidelines:

View original post 620 more words

 
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Posted by on January 26, 2016 in Uncategorized

 

Fixing SPED: A Roadmap?

As Bristol is currently seeking an outside agency to audit its SPED program and suggest improvements, Norwalk is undergoing a similar plight. Below are articles detailing their approach, which may offer a roadmap for Bristol going forward.

Getting all city and district leaders on the same page…

https://www.nancyonnorwalk.com/2016/01/rilling-kimmel-pledge-to-fund-norwalk-boe-in-quest-to-reform-schools/

Thinking outside the box for funding solutions…

https://www.nancyonnorwalk.com/2016/01/schools-superintendent-wants-separate-fund-for-transitioning-special-education/

Newspaper article which reported on the CRED audit…

http://www.thehour.com/news/norwalk/report-norwalk-s-special-education-department-in-worse-condition-than/article_d33e4fa3-e239-5129-8e07-a65380023273.html

The CREC audit itself which brought problems to public attention…

http://www.norwalkps.org/UserFiles/Servers/Server_71596/File/BOE/MeetingDocs/2015-2016/CREC%20Report%20Nov%20%202015.pdf

 

http://www.norwalkps.org/UserFiles/Servers/Server_71596/File/BOE/MeetingDocs/2015-2016/CREC%20Report%20Nov%20%202015.pdf

 
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Posted by on January 24, 2016 in Uncategorized

 

Teacher Retirement Workshops


WORKSHOPS | Workshops Schedule

Provided by Gottfried and Somberg Wealth Management
Teacher Retirement WorkshopsThank you for your interest in our
Teacher Retirement Workshops.

Upcoming workshops:

Wednesday, March 9, 2016
Homewood Suites, Glastonbury, 6:00 PM – 8:00 PM

Wednesday, March 16, 2016
Hartford Marriott, Farmington, 6:00 PM – 8:00 PM

Tuesday, March 22, 2016
Hilton Garden Inn, Wallingford, 6:00 PM – 8:00 PM

Wednesday, March 30, 2016
La Trattoria Restaurant, Canton, 6:00 PM – 8:00 PM

Please click the link above to register

 
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Posted by on January 23, 2016 in Uncategorized

 

SCOTUS to Decide Fate of Unions

Friedrichs Articles:

 
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Posted by on January 19, 2016 in Uncategorized

 
 
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