“Last year, with strong bipartisan support, we passed an education reform package that invests in our schools and prepares our students for real-world jobs. Today, we are reaffirming that commitment with additional funding so that we can build on the good work being done by our teachers and education leaders,” said Governor Malloy. “We have an obligation to each and every student in our schools to provide them with a quality public education so they can compete in the 21st Century economy. By recommitting these resources, we are taking a giant step forward toward achieving that goal.”
“The reforms enacted last year were the first step to begin fixing what’s broken in many of our public schools,” said Lt. Governor Wyman. “This funding structure will ensure that we continue to pursue our goal of helping turn around struggling schools, allowing successful ones to keep thriving, and better preparing students to move onto high school, college, and the workforce.”
Under the Governor’s proposal, a $50.7 million increase in ECS aid for fiscal year 2014 and a $101.5 million increase in fiscal year 2015 will provide enhanced education aid to 117 cities and towns, as well as focusing aid to Alliance Districts — 30 schools districts that educate approximately 41 percent of all Connecticut students.
As part of planning, Alliance Districts will develop comprehensive reform strategies that emphasize three key areas: teacher evaluation and support; implementation of the Common Core State Standards; and the turnaround of lower performing schools.
The Governor also announced a new collaboration between the State Department of Education and the two teachers unions, CEA and AFTCT, to enable a partnership between local districts and unions to attract top teaching candidates to Connecticut schools, retain our best teachers, and provide advancement opportunities for teachers over the course of their careers.
“That partnership started last year during the sometimes contentious education reform negotiations,” said AFT Connecticut President Melodie Peters. “We worked our way through sometimes with bruises, sometimes with big smiles. But here we are today talking about a second step, or second phase to education and supporting education.”
Funding for recruiting and retaining top teachers will be allocated to two or three districts through a competitive grant process. The Governor expects to make $2 to $3 million available for these efforts.