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Statement on Appropriations Committee's Proposed Budget for FYs 2024 and 2025

 -  Lisa Hammersley, School + State Finance Project

We sincerely appreciate the hard work of members of the Appropriations Committee in putting together the Committee’s budget proposal, and want to recognize the leadership of the House and Senate for prioritizing public education this session.

While we are thankful the Committee’s proposed budget provides an increase in K-12 education funding, we are disappointed the proposal falls short of implementing H.B. 5003 — a historic education funding bill, with wide bipartisan support, which would fully fund all of Connecticut’s public school students.

Every day, hundreds of thousands of Connecticut students walk into schools that don’t have the funding, staff, and services to meet their needs. This is an unacceptable reality that, unfortunately, the budget proposal released today does not fully address.

With student needs nearing all-time highs and districts and communities facing a looming fiscal cliff when federal COVID-relief dollars expire, fully funding our public schools is long overdue and absolutely essential.

It is essential to helping students recoup the learning they lost during the pandemic and be able to succeed inside and outside of the classroom.

It is essential to helping schools overcome staffing shortages and better recruit, retain, and pay teachers and paraprofessionals.

It is essential to developing our state’s workforce and growing Connecticut’s businesses and economy.

And it is essential to helping districts and communities avoid potential funding cuts, layoffs, and property tax spikes when federal relief dollars run out.

As the Committee’s proposed budget makes its way through the legislative process and budget negotiations, we urge legislative leadership and members of the General Assembly to provide this essential funding and fully implement and support H.B. 5003 so all students have the chance the receive a properly funded, high-quality education that allows them to reach their full potential.