Malloy’s education cuts could cost Trumbull $610,000

It’s not a good time for educators in Connecticut, and it might even be a worse for local finance board members this time next year.

Governor Dannel Malloy proposed even more cuts to services across the state on Wednesday, April 12, and the latest batch would cost Trumbull $610,019 in education grants — if approved.

The governor plans on significantly reducing the education cost sharing (ECS) grant in Connecticut. The 28 most affluent districts in the state stand to lose the grant entirely, while the 30 lowest performing school districts would see no cuts at all.

All districts in between would lose a portion of their grant money.

Board of Finance Chairman Elaine Hammers told The Times that the cuts won’t affect the Board of Education’s budget next year.

“The town will have to absorb the shortfall when it hits us,” she explained. “The ECS grants go into our General Fund so we will have to look at how it will affect our town budget next year when they come in.”

Loretta Chory, the chair of the Board of Education, agreed with Hammers’ assessment

“I don’t expect that the cuts Mr. Malloy has proposed for ECS grants will impact the amount of funding that the town allocates to the Board of Education for the 2016-17 school year,” Chory said. “However, the BOE has no say in the funding portion of the budget, in other words, setting the mill rate. That is solely a function of the Board of Finance.”

According to reports, Darien is set to lose $1.5 million, while nearby towns also feel the sting. New Canaan and Madison would lose $1.5 million as well.

Westport and Ridgefield would each lose $2 million. Greenwich would lose $3.4 million, and Fairfield would have to go without $3.5 million.

This year

For the upcoming 2016-2017 fiscal year, Connecticut will send $2.058 billion to towns for education through the ECS grant, which is the state's primary payment to help municipalities run their schools.

The grant has previously been protected from cuts in the past; however, the legislature's appropriations committee last week recommended cutting it by $30.2 million for the 2016-2017 fiscal calendar.

The ECS grant directs more funding to communities with high concentrations of high-need students and to poor communities that have the least ability to raise revenue locally.

Despite this fact, the legislature has ignored the formula recently in attempt to save communities from losing money, even if the formula desired it based on property values increasing or enrollment decreasing in a given town.

Winners and losers

In other words, not every community would lose money as part of this process.

There are 25 towns across the state that are not receiving at least 55% of the ECS formula requires to get an increase in funding.

Therefore, a city like West Hartford could perhaps be the biggest winner from this situation as it would get an additional $1.4 million — if the cuts are approved.

Similarly, Danbury would get a reported $840,000 and Shelton $655,000.

While those city school districts will be receiving more, there are total of 28 Connecticut communities that will have their ECS grant funds cut entirely. The biggest pool though is the 111 school districts, like Trumbull, that will receive a reduction.