Bristol Federation of Teachers

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Governor’s Proposed Budget — February 3, 2016

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.

 

Connecticut Dems Let Down Teachers, Fail to Override Malloy Vetoes — July 20, 2015

Connecticut Dems Let Down Teachers, Fail to Override Malloy Vetoes

From the Hartford Courant

HARTFORD — There was a rare debate in a veto session Monday, but as expected, the House of Representatives did not override Gov. Dannel Malloy’s veto of a bill that would have stipulated qualifications for candidates for state education commissioner.

The debate was unusual because the Democratic majority normally has enough votes to block any attempt to override vetoes by the Democratic governor. But some Democrats wanted to debate the issue, and 17 House Democrats voted to override the veto.

The bill called for setting qualifications for the education commissioner, an effort rooted in controversy around Malloy’s first pick for the job, Stefan Pryor. Pryor had a law degree from Yale University and a background in economic development, as well as experience as a deputy mayor in Newark, N.J. But he didn’t have a background in classroom teaching, which some educators said should be required for the state’s top education post. Pryor announced late last year that he was stepping down.

The legislature had passed a bill that called for the education commissioner to have five years of experience in the classroom, three years as an administrator and a master’s degree in an education-related field.

State Rep. David Alexander, an Enfield Democrat who voted to override the veto, said the proposed requirements were a common-sense measure that had overwhelming support in both the House and Senate.

“This seems like a logical prerequisite that got vetoed, which is wrong,” Alexander said. “I worked in the classroom as a substitute teacher when I was in law school, and I learned valuable insights about how students learn and how other teachers teach. … If it was a good idea, then let’s override the veto.”

The veto session Monday was required by the state constitution. To override a veto, there must be 101 votes in the House and 24 in the Senate. Monday’s vote on the education commissioner qualifications fell short, with 62 votes in favor and 21 against. Sixty-eight members were absent.

The 17 Democrats who voted to override Malloy’s education commissioner bill veto included Deputy Speaker Linda Orange of Colchester, Deputy Majority Leader Michelle Cook of Torrington, and Roberta Willis of Salisbury, co-chairwoman of the higher education committee.

The House adjourned soon after the education vote, and the members did not discuss any of Malloy’s eight other vetoes. As such, all nine of his vetoes were upheld. Later Monday, the Senate took no action on the vetoes.

Veto overrides are rare because they require a two-thirds vote in both chambers of the legislature. Since Malloy took office in 2011, none of his vetoes has been overturned.

The situation was different in the Senate Monday, where Democrats succeeded in avoiding a debate. Majority Leader Bob Duff said “there is no point” to debate because the House had already adjourned.

After several minutes of procedural confusion, the Senate cast a party line vote of 18-12 to adjourn their session without a debate, infuriating minority Republicans.

“I’m very disappointed the way this came out, and I’ll leave it at that,” Senate Republican leader Len Fasano of North Haven said on the Senate floor.

Courant staff writer Andrew M. Duehren contributed to this report.

Copyright © 2015, Hartford Courant

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

Make Gov. Malloy Hold Charter Schools Accountable — June 6, 2015

Make Gov. Malloy Hold Charter Schools Accountable

The General Assembly on Tuesday passed a two-year state budget and adjourned their regular session — but our work is not done. Lawmakers will soon go into “special session” to pass the “implementer bills” – hundreds of pages of directions to state agencies about how to execute the new budget.
The legislature on Tuesday took an important step toward establishing greater transparency and more accountability for schools operated by charter management organizations (CMOs) by passing S.B. 1096. The legislation empowers the General Assembly to give final approval to charter school applicants, and requires charter schools and CMOs to:
  • be subject to the Freedom of Information (FOI) Act;
  • conduct background checks;
  • adopt anti-nepotism and conflict of interest policies;
  • share best practices with local districts; &
  • submit to random audits.
But attempts to strip the FOI and charter approval process provisions of the bill by Malloy Administration officials were discovered last night during budget implementer discussions.
To contact your legislators, click on this link: https://actionnetwork.org/letters/dont-let-a-rat-gut-charter-school-accountability. Thank them for voting to establish stronger transparency and accountability frameworks for charter schools and urge them to VOTE NO on any budget implementer bills that would dilute S.B. 1096.
Contact Governor Malloy by clicking on this link:https://actionnetwork.org/letters/dont-undermine-charter-school-accountability Ask him to sign S.B. 1096 and refrain from efforts to dilute or weaken its language.
This matter is extremely urgent and it’s critical to take action TODAY to block underhanded attempts to weaken charter accountability.
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