• Gov. M. Jodi Rell
Education took a back seat to proposed tax cuts in Connecticut Gov. M. Jodi Rell’s State of the State Address Feb. 8.
Finance: Seizing on the state’s healthy budget surplus, the Republican governor called for rolling back car and inheritance taxes, but unveiled no new school initiatives.
Instead, she recommended modest increases in spending on existing school programs in proposing adjustments to the state’s spending plan for fiscal 2007, the second year of the state’s two-year budget.
The biggest such adjustment would add $3.5 million to the $105 million initially appropriated for special grants to high-poverty districts, an increase intended to expand the number of preschool slots in those systems from 7,000 to 7,500.
“I strongly believe that quality early-childhood education will help children born in poverty emerge from economic disadvantage to become vibrant and dynamic workers in tomorrow’s economy,” Gov. Rell said.
Charter Schools: The governor also recommended increasing state funding for charter schools in fiscal 2007 to $25.6 million, from an initial appropriation of $23.8 million, to accommodate growth in Connecticut’s existing charter schools.
An adjustment was also made in Ms. Rell’s proposed budget that was not mentioned in her speech: $250,000 in new spending for legal costs to defend the state in a school finance lawsuit filed against it in November by groups arguing Connecticut doesn’t adequately subsidize its schools.