Bristol Federation of Teachers

Contact us at bft1464@gmail.com

Legislature Vs. Malloy During Special Session to Finalize Budget — June 22, 2015

Legislature Vs. Malloy During Special Session to Finalize Budget

Governor Malloy is proposing a 1.5% cut across the board to finalize the budget and get it passed through the legislature in a special session this week. Here is what those cuts would look like (and these are in addition to cuts already made in the original budget proposal).

State Employees:

·         Contracting Standards Board  –  $4,715 in FY 2016 and $4,543 in FY 2017

·         UConn Block Grant – $3.3M in FY 2016 and $3.7M in FY 2017

·         UConn Next Generation Connecticut – $287K in FY 2016 and $305K in FY 2017

·         UConn Health Center Block Grant – $1.86M in FY 2016 and $1.88M in FY 2017

·         UConn Health Center Bioscience – $187.5K in FY 2016 and $180K in FY 2017

·         Community-Technical College System – $2.44M in FY 2017 and $2.46M in FY 2017

PreK-12/PSRP:

·         Reimbursement to Towns for Lost Taxes on State Property  – $$1.25M in FY 2016 and FY 2017

·         Reimbursement to Towns for Lost Taxes on Exempt Property – $1.88M in FY 2016 and FY 2017

·         School Based Health Clinics – $176, 212 in FY 2016 and $178,471 in FY 2017

·         CommPACT Schools – $5,250 in FY 2016 and FY 2017

·         Connecticut Technical HS System – $2.5M in FY 2017 and $2.56M in FY 2017

·         Commissioner’s Network – $192K in FY 2016 and FY 2017

·         K-3 Reading Assessment Pilot – $43K in FY 2016 and $44K in FY 2017

·         Common Core – $88K in FY 2016 and $89K in FY 2017

·         Special Master – $22K in FY 2016 and $15K in FY 2017

·         American School for the Deaf – $149K in FY 2016 and $151K in FY 2017

·         RESCs – $16K in FY 2016 and FY 2017

·         School Transportation – $350K in FY 2016 and FY 2017

·         Adult Education – $315K in FY 2016 and FY 2017

·         ECS Grants (includes charter schools) – $32.3M in FY 2016 and $32.5M in FY 2017

·         Bilingual Education – $44K in FY 2016 and $52K in FY 2017

·         Priority School (Alliance) Districts – $656K in FY 2016 and $672K in FY 2017

·         Excess Cost Special Education – $2.097M in FY 2016 and FY 2017

·         School Readiness – $1.25M in FY 2016 and FY 2017

Time for Bristol Teachers to Stand Up! — June 1, 2015

Time for Bristol Teachers to Stand Up!

Wondering what happens when no one stands up for what’s right? Take a look at two state issues where too few educators opposed bills favored by those outside the profession.

Both Chambers Pass Bill That Bans Out-Of-School Suspension, Expulsion of Young Children

and

Additional $23 Million For Traditional Public Schools ‘Sugarcoats Bitter Pill’

In the first instance, a bill brought about by an advocacy group comprised of litigators were able to ram legislation through when too few educators (teachers, administrators, and BOE) opposed it. In the second example, charter school operators lobbied hard, convincing parents in two urban school areas that the only thing standing in the way of their opening was Governor Malloy to provide the funding. The Governor rolled over and began pushing for legislators to support the charter expansion.

Despite these setbacks, the BFT leadership thanks those Bristol teachers who have contacted legislators this past week to support the union position on various issues.

And for those who didn’t, what are you waiting for? How bad does it have to get before you will act?

State Budget: Tell Governor Malloy To Support Public Schools, Not Charters — May 29, 2015

State Budget: Tell Governor Malloy To Support Public Schools, Not Charters

Education Cost Sharing (ECS) funds have been kept flat since Governor Malloy took office, causing most districts to now be severely underfunded. In fact, resources for traditional neighborhood schools increased by less than 8% since Fiscal Year 2009, while funding for schools operated by charter management organizations (CMOs) has grown by 124% during the same time period.

As AFT CT informed you earlier this week, state budget talks have become heated. The governor’s proposal includes $4.6 million for two new schools operated by CMOs. Legislative leaders’ alternative plan reallocates those resources instead to our underfunded traditional public schools.

Click here now to ask the governor to stop advocating for charters at the expense of traditional public schools. Tell him that preferential treatment for schools that serve only a fraction of students greatly undermines our state’s ability to provide an outstanding public education for all.

Legislative Action Needed — May 26, 2015

Legislative Action Needed

BFT members who live in Rep. Aresimowicz’s district are asked to call using the following script. Doing this immediately is crucial as without immediate action 2 new charter schools are likely to be opened in Connecticut, draining resources from trational public schools.

PHONE SCRIPT FOR URGENT CALLS TO REPRESENTATIVE JOE ARESIMOWICZ

House Democrats Main Phone:  860-240-8500

Representative Aresimowicz’s Office:  860-240-8489

Hello, my name is ________ and I am (choose one below – Rep. Aresimowicz’s district is in Southington and Berlin):

  • A Southington/Berlin resident/parent of child in Southington/Berlin public schools; or
  • A teacher/counselor/etc. at Wilcox Technical High School in Meriden.

I am calling to urge Representative Aresimowicz to reject Governor Malloy’s efforts to include $4.6 million for 2 new charter schools in the state budget.

I support the Appropriations Committee’s budget that reallocates those funds to our traditional school districts.  Berlin is already more than $1.7 million underfunded and Soutington is more than $8.4 million underfunded in ECS dollars.  Funding new charter schools will only further divert scarce resources away from traditional neighborhood schools.

 

Please tell Representative Aresimowicz to continue to stand his ground against the Governor and continue blocking funding for two new charter schools.    Thank you.

 

BACKGROUND INFO:

  • Funding for traditional neighborhood schools has grown less than 8% since FY 2009, while charter school funding has grown by 124% during the same time period.
  • Though they receive millions in public dollars, charter schools are not subject to the same transparency and accountability standards as our traditional neighborhood public schools and are not subject to the Freedom of Information Act.
  • Charter schools have suspension and expulsion rates that far exceed the state average:[1]
    • Elementary school students are suspended or expelled 4.5 times more often
    • Middle and high school students are suspended or expelled twice as often
  • Despite state law requiring school districts to reduce racial, ethnic and economic isolation, a majority of charter schools are hyper-segregated (enrolling more than 90% or less than 10% minority students) and fail to enroll diverse populations.[2]

When making tough budget decisions, the choice is clear.  Stand by the schools that educate all children by giving them the resources they need to succeed.

[1] Suspensions and Expulsions in Connecticut, State Department of Education, March 2015

[2] Choice Watch:  Diversity and Access in Connecticut’s School Choice Programs, Connecticut Voices for Children, April 2014

Final 2 weeks of Legislative Session — May 18, 2015

Final 2 weeks of Legislative Session

As the legislature and governor begin negotiating a final budget, the AFT CT has organized a “Watch Posse” at the State Capitol to help pass out flyers.They hope to keep the momentum going until the end of session.  Please consider helping out even if it is for a few hours. They are scheduled from 12-5 pm but anytime you are available will be helpful – just let them know before you come up!   Click on the link to sign up for dates and time: http://doodle.com/kd6r27vgt675is3t.

 Here are some of the activities planned for the Watch Posse:

·        Hang out outside the office where Senate and House Leadership and the Governor will be negotiating the budget

·        Pass out AFT provided leaflets to legislators.

·        Hand out stickers to friendly legislators

·        Distribute postcards to legislators that were signed by members (to be done the week of May 25th)

 Please sign up on the dates that you would be able to help out at the State Capitol. Here is the link to sign up:http://doodle.com/kd6r27vgt675is3t

 Teri Merisotis

Member Mobilization Coordinator

AFT CONNECTICUT

35 Marshall Rd.

Rocky Hill, CT 06067

860-257-9782

Support General Assembly Budget that Opposes Cuts Made By Malloy — April 29, 2015

Support General Assembly Budget that Opposes Cuts Made By Malloy

Yesterday, the General Assembly’s Appropriations Committee adopted a budget plan that would restore many of the painful cuts Governor Malloy proposed earlier this year. Their budget invests a great deal more in PreK-12 and higher education and significantly restores cuts to the Medicaid rates on which our hospitals rely. It alsorejects two of the governor’s marquee proposals — to fund new charter schools and move probation officers out of the Judicial Branch

Simply put, it’s a responsible budget that reflects our values.

Soon negotiations will begin between Governor Malloy and General Assembly leadership to create a final budget. Legislative leaders need to hear from you now.

Click here to thank them for adopting a budget that protects education, public services and healthcare delivery in our state.

Ask them to stand their ground in negotiations to create a final budget we all can be proud of.

Please make your voices heard!

In Solidarity,

Teri Merisotis

AFT CT Member Mobilization Coordinator

City Budget Passes; Full Day Kindergarten Moves Ahead — May 20, 2014

City Budget Passes; Full Day Kindergarten Moves Ahead

BRISTOL — The city adopted a $185.1 million spending plan Monday that will raise property taxes by 3.3 percent, fund full-day kindergarten and push more money into road repairs.

The budget was passed at a joint meeting of the City Council and Board of Finance by a 14-1 vote, with only City Councilor Henri Martin opposed.

Officials allocated enough money to allow the Board of Education to cover rising expenses without resorting to layoffs, add Sunday hours at the main library during the winter and pick up the pace on the replacement of municipal vehicles.

While some cringed at the tax increase required, most voted for it anyway.

“Is it higher than I’d like to see? Absolutely,” said Mayor Ken Cockayne, who embraced the spending plan as his own.

Martin said he voted no because he thought the school system “jumped the line” in pushing through full-day kindergarten less than a year after raising the idea. He said many other necessary items remain on hold.

Martin, a Republican running for state Senate, said many residents “are upset they have another tax increase during still tough economic times.”

Another city councilor, Democrat Calvin Brown, called Martin’s stand disingenuous. He said good leadership can “foresee the benefits” involved even if some voters don’t understand the issue completely.

“I don’t even think it’s particularly controversial,” Brown said.

The new budget increased the property tax rate from 33.50 to 34.61 mills, up 1.11 mills, or $110 per $100,000 in assessed value.

The median home value in Bristol is about $230,000. Its assessment — based on 70 percent of the value — would come to about $161,000.

The tax bill on that house would rise under the new budget from $5,393 to $5,572, or about $180. About a third of the increase is the direct result of the extended kindergarten slated for implementation in the coming academic year.