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Yale Daily News: Legislators and advocates condemn Governor’s proposal to reallocate K-12 education funds

Zachary Suri, Yale Daily News

February 19, 2024 - 2 minutes

Room 2D at the Legislative Office Building in Hartford was standing room only on Thursday afternoon. Hundreds of people had gathered for a press conference, flanked by signs reading “Keep the promise to CT’s students” and “Fairly fund all students.”

The press conference, hosted by Rep. Jeff Currey, D-East Hartford, co-chair of the General Assembly’s Education Committee, was called in response to Governor Ned Lamont’s proposal to redirect more than $39 million in funding for charter, magnet and technical schools allocated last session. The funds would help pay for a five-year plan restructuring of childcare in the state, developed by a “Blue Ribbon Panel” of experts and stakeholders ordered by Lamont last year. Lamont’s proposal was introduced as HB 5050 on Feb. 8.

“Early childhood deserves the same respect and commitment this year. We can and we should do both,” Currey said. “The attempt to pit us against each other is not the path forward.”

In Connecticut, the state budget is passed on a biennial basis, with a new budget every two years and minor adjustments in the intervening session. Last year, the General Assembly passed a budget for 2024 and 2025 that included a historic $150 million in investments for K-12 education statewide. According to Lisa Hammersley, executive director of the School + State Finance Project, this was the second-largest allocation in state history. Rep. Currey played a key role in negotiations with the governor to secure these commitments.

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