State Rep. Linda Gentile wrote the following letter in response to a letter from Ansonia Mayor David Cassetti.
Dear Mayor Cassetti:
Thank you for your letter regarding school funding. Please allow me to respond.
As you know, I have been one of the biggest advocates for public education funding and special education funding during my tenure. Knowing that the ECS formula was not sufficient to meet our needs, I was a leader in establishing and receiving Priority School designation to get much needed funding, and most recently, Alliance District designation to accomplish the same goal. In fact, although the Alliance funding is scheduled to sunset, I am currently advocating for its continuance. If it is discontinued, I believe that it would be shameful to lose the gains that we have made because of this funding.
I have worked tirelessly with this Governor, as well as former Governor Rell, fighting for Ansonia’s fair share. I have always maintained that communities like Ansonia (and Derby) were being short-changed. This is the first time that I have hope that we just might have a chance to receive the funding that we so desperately need.
Governor Malloy has presented his proposed budget. In his budget, education funding for struggling municipalities like Ansonia has been increased substantially. Additionally, there has been about an additional $10M set aside for Special Education funding statewide. THIS is good news for Ansonia students.
You have probably read my articles and heard my commentary regarding the Governor’s budget proposal. I applaud this Governor for recognizing that small cities like ours, are struggling and facing numerous challenges. I am thankful that he has heard my pleas and he has taken to heart the recent ruling of Judge Moukawsher. But, as I have previously stated, it is very early in the budget process and as such it remains a fluid document. Much can change and much will change between now and June.
You have my word that I will remain vigilant and I will continue to advocate for Ansonia to receive its fair share. I will continue to urge my colleagues to recognize the fairness in funding that is vital to our community.
I absolutely agree that we can’t put this off any longer which is why I am hopeful that my colleagues on the other side of the aisle will join me in supporting our educational needs. A bi-partisan solution to our challenges and needs is especially critical this year. It is time to balance the scales and finally address and correct the underfunding that we have been subjected to for far too long. It is time for all legislators to finally join together in doing the right thing for all children, regardless of their zip code.