NEW HAVEN, Conn. (WTNH)– The state budget crisis is now hitting schools. Cuts to state education aid were just announced. Millions of dollars in state aid for capital projects were also slashed.
In all, we’re talking about $50 million in cuts. Well, kind of. See, this is money that was written into the budget, but never backed up with any cash, so it’s basically stuff that was designed to be cut.
$30 million was supposed to help towns build things like police stations and roads. Those things just won’t happen. $20 million is in education funding, and that’s trickier. We’re halfway through the school year. You can’t just kick a few kids out of school to save money. There could be layoffs. The cuts specifically target the state’s wealthiest towns, and that’s no accident.
The notoriously struggling big city school districts are capped in these cuts, so that they only lose a quarter of a million dollars. That will still hurt, but it’s a tiny fraction of the total state aid. The thinking is, wealthier towns make a lot more money from property taxes on their big, expensive homes, so they don’t need money from the state.
The result is, big cities like New Haven and Waterbury lost $250,000. It’s a lot of money, yes, but it’s only a tiny fraction, less than a quarter of a percent of their total state aid. New London lost less money, but it’s a slightly higher percentage. Middletown lost almost a quarter million, which is more than one percent of its aid. But take a look at Old Saybrook. It’s only losing a hundred and three thousand dollars, but that’s close to half its state aid.
The biggest hit to any one district was to Greenwich, a cut of $1.3 million, which is 90% of its state aid. Folks in those wealthy towns think the state is trying to cut education aid to them entirely.