Durham First Selectman Laura Francis addressed the legislature’s Appropriations Committee on Friday afternoon to highlight how Gov. Dannel P. Malloy's proposed budget will impact towns.
Francis joined several other town leaders representing the Connecticut Council of Small Towns in Hartford, where she spoke specifically about the budget's impact on education including an apparent oversight involving transportation funding for Durham and Middlefield.
“The Governor’s proposed budget increases ECS funding significantly for 30 towns and provides additional funding for a total of 117 communities. However, the ECS grant continues to be underfunded, forcing towns to make difficult decisions about cutting critical educational programs or shifting more of the burden of public education onto property taxpayers,” Francis said.
Francis also raised concerns regarding the impact of the proposed budget on regional school districts. “The proposed budget eliminates the student transportation grant. Although the loss of funds is offset for local school districts through the creation of a Hold Harmless grant, it does not offset the loss of such funds for Regional School Districts,” explained Francis.
“Regional School District 13 will receive no state transportation funds under Gov. Malloy’s proposed budget - a loss of $282,257 compared to the current year. This is an enormous loss of revenue for our district and the Board of Education is considering cuts in programs and staff that may undermine the quality of education in our schools. The other 18 regional school districts in the state are facing comparable reductions in transportation funding. This is unfair to regional school districts that have strived to develop quality educational programs for the communities they serve,” Francis said.