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Tolland Schools Could Lose More than $1 Million in State Funding

If the state adopts a new Education Cost Sharing grant formula, Tolland schools could potentially see a decrease in state aid.

Under one interpretation of a proposed reworking of the state's Education Cost Sharing Grant, state aid to Tolland schools could plummet more than $1 million, according to a report from the Governor's ECS Formula Committee.

The committee's recommendations are still in the early stages, and the General Assembly has not yet adopted them. However, the committee's projections for potential state aid reduces Tolland's share in ECS funds from its current level of $10,866,063 to $9,760,845, a decrease of $1,105,218.

"If the town couldn't pick up the difference in funding, cuts to programs and personnel are a likely impact," Superintendent William Guzman said.

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Guzman commented that beyond decreasing ECS grants, an increase in unfunded mandates is placing more of a financial burden on municipalities. Mandates such as new teacher evaluations, which the state may consider revenue neutral, actually cost the school district, Guzman explained. For example, Tolland already had to add a position to implement the complex evalution process and will likely need to purchase new software to simply fulfill the mandate.

"The state has reneged on its promise to fund schools at the 50/50 level," Guzman said. "They haven't even come near that."

In the committee's report, it is recommended that the minimum aid given to wealthier towns be lowered from 9 percent to 2 percent. The formula tweaking aims to provide equal education opportunities and to close the achievement gap. The committee also states that it wants to create a more predictable formula so schools have a certainty in what level of funding they will receive each year.

It is also proposed that the state give more weight to median household income of towns and to use American Community Survey data to calculate fairer funding levels; 10-year-old U.S. census data has been the main information source for ECS grants. Property values and income would also be weighed more equally.

Tolland's proposed 2013-2014 school budget can be seen on the school district website.

MaryAnn January 16, 2013 at 01:45 AM
Guess the BOE better get their pencils sharpened..... The threat of decreased ECS funding comes up every year, and may come to fruition one of these years. Tolland is one of the wealthier towns in CT., so we may have to either pay more or cut more.
Jim G. January 16, 2013 at 02:15 AM
Some states have entire secondary industries that analyze state mandates and their funding. Does CT have any such watchdog group or industry that highlights unfunded and underfunded mandates?
Ron February 13, 2013 at 01:42 PM
Jim: Not only does CT not review state spending excesses, or care at all where tax payers money goes, it has a committee that works 24/7 to increase spending. This committee is called your elected officials in Hartford, led by the biggest tax and spend person in America, Dan Molloy. Two days ago the Wall Street Journal had a major article on Molloy's policy of giving away tax money to Jackson Labs at a rate exceeding one million dollars for each "promised" job. Because no one in CT reads the Wall Street Journal the article served no purpose other than to warn legitimate businesses (not Solyndra type businesses) never to come to CT. Possibly if CT residents once a decade read the Wall Street Journal rather than TV Guide they would learn that all other 49 states have surpassed CT in job creation and business friendliness, and left CT with the highest per capita unfunded liability in the nation. CT's mandate is simple: Drive out all business and private sector jobs, force all college graduates to leave the state, bankrupt the middle class, en=mbrace the highest energy costs in the nation,and maintain the biggest and most lavish retirement system to the 46,000 current and 55,000 retired State union workers.

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