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Hartford Courant: Town, school leaders urge passage of CT bill that would ‘mitigate the bloodletting’ of coming fiscal cliff

Alison Cross, Hartford Courant

April 27, 2023 - 2 minutes

Mayors, clergy and school district leaders mobilized in Hartford Thursday to urge Gov. Ned Lamont and the General Assembly to fast-track state education funding in an attempt to scale down public schools’ impending fall from a fiscal cliff carved by the expiration of federal COVID relief.

Education stakeholders joined the Connecticut Conference of Municipalities Thursday to unveil a $100,000 ad campaign promoting the passage of H.B. 5003 — a widely popular proposal to accelerate the state’s Education Cost Sharing grant schedule and fully fund Connecticut’s public, charter, vocational and magnet schools by 2025.

The bill, which saw more than 60 state representatives sign on as co-sponsors, 400 submissions of supporting testimony, and a unanimous vote of approval from all 44 members of the General Assembly’s Education Committee, comes at a $375.5 million price tag that was omitted from both the governor’s and the Appropriations Committee’s biennial budget proposals.

Education funding has emerged as a point of contention between the two budgets. While Lamont favored the current 10-year ECS schedule with districts reaching full funding in 2028, the appropriations committee proposed to halt scheduled decreases, but continue increases. H.B. 5003 supporters want a full acceleration in Fiscal Year 2025 with maintained funding for districts that would have seen a decline in funding per the schedule.

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