Ansonia Alderman: Demand Accountability From Hartford

As an Ansonia resident and elected official, I find it absolutely appalling that we could be facing cuts to our historic library.  But if something is not done about the astonishingly high cost of public education in our city than we face a future of continually cutting services or constantly raising taxes.  

This year the Board of Education requires $3 million in additional funds to deal with rising special education costs and the loss of grants.  That’s three ordinary increases in a single twelve month period.  

Can you say “not sustainable”?

Ansonia residents should not be forced to choose between service cuts and increasing an already high tax rate. Not when the State of Connecticut, which created this mess, is failing to do its part. 

It’s time that we demanded fair treatment from the State of Connecticut.  Each year we have been shortchanged by the Education Cost Sharing program, which is supposed to help distressed school districts to shoulder increasing costs without punishing taxpayers.  Except Ansonia only gets 70% of its funding, while wealthier towns like Greenwich and Fairfield get over 150% (and in some cases, like Madison, Waterford and Westbrook, even over 200%).

Fair and equitable funding would put our budget right where it needs to be, and I’m glad that the Governor’s proposal is calling for just that.  Now we need to make sure our state legislature follows through.  Let your state representatives know that Ansonia needs fair treatment, and we need it now.

Residents are right to be upset with potential cuts, but they also need to understand the reason we are in this spot.  Help us hold Hartford accountable by demanding fair education funding.  Help our city avoid the “worst case scenario” of budget cuts or tax increases.

The writer is an Ansonia Alderman.

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