Three years ago, education in Connecticut was a priority.

Today, it’s importance isn’t quite as clear
Norwich Bulletin Editorial Posted Aug 10, 2009 Schools open for the season in less than a month, and in many cases, it will be a very different environment for school officials, students and parents this year. A recent survey conducted by the Connecticut Association of Public School Superintendents released Monday, shows 1,200 fewer teaching positions in the state this year, a reduction primarily the result of layoffs due to budgetary restraints. Such a large-scale reduction in teachers will certainly have an impact on the coming school year. There are a number of factors contributing to the sharp decline in teachers, all of which having a common theme — money. The state, still embroiled in budget negotiations, is not providing school districts with any increase in state aid, while school districts are facing increased operational costs. Municipalities are reluctant, given the economy, to raise local property taxes to make up the difference. In some cases, local teacher unions have stepped forward offering contract concessions in an effort to help. Although admirable, in some cases those concession are not enough to avoid personnel cuts. In other communities, unions declined to make any concessions, thus leaving school officials with no option but to cut jobs. Lost opportunity The losers are the students. Fewer teachers mean larger class sizes, a less than ideal learning environment and the lost opportunity for students to receive individual attention and instruction. Ironically, this current situation arises just three years after the state made a major financial investment in education that enabled school districts to add new educational programs, hire more teachers and refine existing curriculum to better address the challenges students will face in the future. We applauded those steps then, and raise our concern today that the priority of yesterday is not being fulfilled. With only weeks before the start of the school year, and no state budget in place, school officials are still uncertain about exactly how much funding will be available to accomplish the goals and objectives for this coming year. That’s not fair to anyone.

Our view: Schools lose in state’s budget fight

Norwich Bulletin

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