Malloy budget calls for $152 million hike in education funding over two years

Hartford — Gov. Dannel P. Malloy has proposed boosting funding for Education Cost Sharing grants: a $50.7 million increase for fiscal year 2014 and a $101.5 million bump for fiscal year 2015. The money would go to 117 cities and towns and focus on 30 of the state’s most needy school districts, the so-called Alliance Districts.

“No community will lose education dollars,” Malloy said.

“We have an obligation to each and every student in our schools to provide them with a quality public education so they can compete in the 21st century economy,” Malloy said in a press release Tuesday.

Malloy also announced a new collaboration between the state’s Department of Education and the two teachers unions. The state needs to attract the best and brightest teachers and retain great teachers already in the schools, he said.

“We are all basically struggling and going after the same talent here in Connecticut,” Hartford Superintendent Christine M. Kishimoto said. The City of Hartford hasn’t increased funding for three years, she said.

Kishimoto said she would have had to look at layoffs last year if her district hadn’t received state funding because of increasing teacher and transportation contract expenses.

“We were able to avoid a reduction in force. With this money again, these next two years, that’s going to be my focus,” she said.

Malloy said he planned to make $2 million to $3 million available in a competitive grant process for recruiting and retaining teachers.

Some of the local school districts that would receive additional funding are New London, Groton, Waterford, East Lyme, Montville, Norwich, Sprague and Stonington. New London would receive $24.7 million in Education Cost Sharing aid for the 2013-14 school year, a 4.1 percent increase when compared to 2012-13 levels. Groton would receive $25.6 million, a 0.1 percent increase. Waterford would receive $1.5 million, a 1.5 percent increase.

j.somers@theday.com

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