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State cuts to education are wrong and cruel

On Dec. 29, the state announced a total of $50 million in cuts to aid to municipalities through its Local Capital Improvement Program and Educational Cost Sharing Program (ECS).

The cuts were announced by Benjamin Barnes, secretary of the state’s Office of Policy and Management.

The purpose of the ECS program, according to the state’s website, is to “equalize state education funding to towns by taking into account a town’s wealth and ability to raise property taxes to pay for education. Poor towns receive more aid per student; affluent towns receive less aid per student.”

With many school districts in Connecticut struggling to fund programs, including school districts in the Northwest Corner, it is disturbing to see the state so willingly take away funding from students.

Whether it is a cut of $55,133 to ECS funding to the Winchester School District or a cut of $1,307,893 to ECS funding to the Greenwich School District, any cut of any dollar amount to school districts is a very bad idea.

The children of our state are the future of the state.

To cut away dollars from each school district in the state means that schools will have to do more with even less than before.

And to make these cuts in the middle of fiscal 2016-2017 will leave school districts and towns scrambling to figure out how to rearrange their finances.

These cuts also seem to be part of a disturbing trend when it comes to state finances and education.

In March, the Board of Regents approved a 5 percent tuition increase for University of Connecticut students and a 3.5 percent tuition increase for community college students.

In late April, trustees for UConn voted to shut down its Torrington campus. This has forced students who reside in the Northwest Corner who want to take programs at UConn to drive to its Waterbury campus.

With these cuts to the state’s educational system, it seems that the state has decided to turn education into a low priority.

 

Education should be a top priority for the state and, in the future, legislators should find a way to protect school districts from funding cuts.