Disputes over education funding causes budget bickering to get worse

EAST HARTFORD & HARTFORD, Conn. (WTNH) — The lack of a state budget is now turning into a battle over local school funding. With many local school districts bracing for severe and extreme cuts in their state funding in just ten days, the Governor and Republican leaders are arguing over how to avoid it.

The Governor went to a middle school in one of the state’s 30 neediest cities, East Hartford, to rip the Republican budget, saying, “The Republican budget on education is one hot mess. This is a document that substantially rolls back what we did in 2012.”

He says financial aid to cities like New Haven, Hartford and Waterbury is less in the GOP budget and ‘well off’ towns got more.

Gov. Malloy asked, “How do you justify increasing funding to Salisbury, Connecticut, one of the richest communities in the entire state, by 28 percent while another major city that represents a very significant portion of our children in need is losing $5.2 million?”

Related Content: UConn students to rally in response to Republican-led state budget

The Governor’s office says he is referring to the city of Waterbury, and insists his analysis of the Republican budget is correct.

But Republicans say they are actually increasing education aid to Waterbury by about $14 million and produced documents to prove it. Republican leaders are accusing the Governor of using fuzzy math.

Sen. Len Fasano (R-North Haven), the Republican Senate President Pro Tem saying,  “This Governor uses our formula in one case to his advantage to make the argument and then again to his advantage to make the argument and he’s not being truthful.”

The Governor also said today that if there’s no budget by Oct. 1, no city or town will be in financial peril for the “short term.” That prompted this from Rep. Themis Klarides (R-Derby) the House Minority Leader, who said, “The Governor has his own version of reality and we’ve all recognized that after all these years and we have to live with that.”

Related Content: GOP leaders defend cuts to UConn in budget plan

And the Republicans say that absent some new agreement in the next nine days, the Governor should sign their budget into law. Added Klarides,  “If he does not sign that, there will be $600 million in E.C.S. cuts to our towns and cities.”

E.C.S. is capitol speak for Education Cost Sharing. Democratic leaders have met with the Governor separately this week.  Republican leaders are scheduled to meet with him on Friday.  There are no joint meetings scheduled.

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