Working to Make CT's Education Funding System More Equitable

March 7, 2022

Staying Current with Currey
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Friends and Neighbors,

For far too long, our public school districts have received consistently imbalanced funding, and despite progress over the past several years to use a more equitable education funding model, there are still some school districts that are severely underfunded while others have seen their fair share of state resources. This is not a “winners” or “losers” conversation. Rather, this is a moment to ensure that Connecticut’s investment in our children is done in a manner that is fair, that is balanced, and supports the needs of our state’s littlest learners. As a lead legislator on matters related to education, I, along with a number of colleagues, have been frustrated by the year after year battle between our public schools focused solely on money. This has distracted us from focusing on our classrooms and how we may assist, or sometimes get out of the way of, educators who have dedicated their lives to a profession that's understaffed and under resourced. 

Click the image above to learn more about how state funding for education flows
Due to the lack of a fair and transparent way to fund our public school systems, some of which were established and structured by past legislatures who didn’t foresee an issue with long-term sustainability, magnets and charters – PUBLIC SCHOOLS – continue to beg and plead for resources under the dome in Hartford. We can end this madness, or at least take a step in the right direction by building off our bipartisan ECS formula of 2017 and finally providing a student-centered model that funds and supports Connecticut’s students in an equitable manner.

HB 5283 seeks to repair our state's inequitable education funding system and provide our schools with a comprehensive approach to fund all our K-12 public schools. This bill would invest millions in our state's public schools and offer our students vitally-needed resources, services, and programs.

This proposal builds off the progress the legislature has made over the past several years to finally provide the equitable education that all Connecticut public school students deserve, and quite frankly, is long overdue. The Education Committee, of which I am a member, held a public hearing last Friday, and we heard from students, teachers, parents, and administrators about how this bill could change academic futures. They've long been promised this funding, but have yet to receive it. This bill advances our state's path to ensuring each and every student has an education that's rich with opportunity, no matter their socio-economic status, where they live, or what type of public school they attend. 

Below you will find a guide to the following information. Click the subject links in this intro to go right to the topic in the body of this email.

You can find additional resources and information on my web site, If there's something you need help with that isn't included in this email, please check my website. If you can't find what you're looking for there, please don't hesitate to reach out to me.



Overall Summary


Change Since Friday

COVID-19 Cases (confirmed and probable)



COVID-19 Tests Reported (molecular and antigen)



Daily Test Positivity



Patients Currently Hospitalized with COVID-19



Overall Summary


Change Since Thursday, Feb. 24

COVID-19 Associated Deaths*



*Data on COVID-19 deaths is updated once per week every Thursday.

Of the 171 patients currently hospitalized with laboratory-confirmed COVID-19, 68 (39.8%) are not fully vaccinated.

Compared to being vaccinated, being unvaccinated currently has the following relative risk:

  • 3 times higher risk of being infected with COVID-19
  • 14 times higher risk of dying from COVID-19
  • 9 times higher risk of being hospitalized with COVID-19
Click Here for COVID-19 Data Updates
Click Here for Governor Lamont's Updates
Click Here for Information on Getting Vaccinated

Specific Updates for Our Community

Town Total Cases Total Deaths Number of Tests Number of Positive Tests
East Hartford 12,441 189 211,176 15,637
Manchester 10,206 185 204,312 12,475
South Windsor 3,694 64 73,360 4,318

Weekly Update of the Department of Public Health's COVID-19 Alert Map

Vaccination against COVID-19 continues to be an important tool to limit the spread of COVID-19 and can help protect against a severe case as well as hospitalization. I just got my 4th shot last Friday because I know that even if I get COVID-19, I'll be protected. 

Below are several vaccine clinics happening in our community:

  • Tuesday, March 8
    • Odyssey Community School, 579 Middle Turnpike West, Manchester, 1:30 p.m. - 6 p.m., for ages 5+
  • Wednesday, March 9
    • Stone Academy, 745 Burnside Ave, East Hartford, 3 p.m. - 7 p.m., for ages 5+
    • Raymond Library, 840 Main St, East Hartford, 11 a.m. - 3 p.m., for ages 12+

Information about getting vaccinated, including how to make an appointment and a list of clinics, is available on Connecticut's Vaccine Portal, here.

If you need assistance finding transportation to and from a vaccine appointment, you can find transportation resources here.

If you're a homebound resident, you can receive your COVID-19 shot at home. Complete the state Department of Public Health's Homebound Intake Form to get the appointment process started.

Testing remains a vital strategy to curb the spread of COVID-19 in our communities. Individuals who are experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 or have been identified as a close contact of someone who has had a confirmed case of COVID-19 should get tested. There are several drive-up and walk-up test sites in our area for residents who need a COVID-19 test now. Click the links below to find sites near you.

East Hartford

South Windsor

Connecticut stands with Ukraine and our Ukrainian-American neighbors.
Russia's illegal and unjustifiable invasion of Ukraine is a severe humanitarian crisis that is already having widespread global impacts. There is a large Ukrainian-American population in our community and across our state. While we cannot understand the emotional toll the ongoing conflict is having on our Ukrainian-American neighbors, there are some organization that are working to support the relief effort:

Frontier Communications recently announced that calls to Ukraine will be free through March 11 so residents can stay connected with their loved ones. Residents will be able to call Ukraine without using their minutes, regardless of if they're using a landline or mobile phone. 

Should the conflict continue, the timeline will be reassessed. 

    Thank you Rep. Cristin McCarthy Vahey (pictured left) for the introduction at East Hartford's St. Patrick's Day Parade Committee Brunch! I was pleased to be honored as this year's Town Marshall and look forward to leading our contingency in this year's parade. The Committee also honored the  East Hartford Police Department K-9 Unit, including Officers Mona, Grossi, and Rivera. 

    Don't miss this year's 50th Annual Greater Hartford St. Patrick's Day Parade this Saturday, March 12 at 11 a.m.! The parade will kick off at Capitol Avenue by the state capitol and ends by the Memorial Arch. If you can't make it in person, you'll be able to watch it live on CW, channel 20. To learn more about this staple event, click here.

    The Board of Regents for Higher Education voted to raise tuition and mandatory fees for the state's 12 community colleges for the 2022-23 academic year. Students who pay out of pocket will pay $224 more per year, or $112 per semester. The tuition change will make over $2 million of additional institutional aid available for students. Students who are eligible for PACT funding and who receive full Pell funding will not see their bill increase. About 70 percent of Connecticut community college students attend without paying out of pocket. More information about this is available here.
    Conservation efforts and investment in a green energy future all work to protect our planet for generations to come, but they also work to create a more resilient economy. During the 2021 legislative session, I was proud to join my colleagues in voting for legislation that works to reduce emissions and improve our air quality, invests in workforce development initiatives to advance the transition to climate-protective energy production, and safeguards our natural ecosystems. 

    Here's a look at some of the bills I proudly supported last session:

    • PA 21-191, An Act Concerning the Use of PFAS in Class B Firefighting Foam, limits the use of PFAS, or "forever chemicals," in firefighting foam and food packaging. These substances accumulate within the human body and cause conditions including thyroid disease, liver damage, testicular cancer, and impact fetus development.
    • PA 21-48An Act Establishing an Energy Efficiency Retrofit Grant Program for Affordable Housing, creates a grant program to support energy efficient upgrades and improvements to affordable housing, public housing, and other landlord-owned units. Improvements can range from installing solar panels, energy storage, EV charging stations, and asbestos, lead, and mold abatement, among others.
    • PA 21-43An Act Concerning a Just Transition to Climate-Protective Energy Production and Community Investment, establishes a job training program support green jobs and equity in workforce development.
    • PA 21-53An Act Concerning Energy Storage, works to alleviate energy costs and requires Connecticut's Public Utility Regulatory Authority (PURA) to consider energy storage programs and projects that are in ratepayers' best interest, promote energy reliability, and comply with our state's emissions reduction goals.
    • HJ 53Resolution Proposing the Adoption of the Long Island Sound Blue Plan, will enable us to use the Sound more sustainably while taking into account ecological and recreational needs. 

    These laws take steps to forge a future that's environmentally smart, equitable, and just. Our work in the Connecticut General Assembly doesn't end here, and we'll continue to support strategies that invest in communities that have been overburdened by pollution and climate change. 

    Welcome to East Hartford's new Human Resources Director Tyron Harris and Finance Director Melissa McCaw! Both individuals bring considerable experience and expertise to our town. You can read more about Tyron here and Melissa here.


    During the pandemic, we have seen the affects isolation has had on mental health. With the reopening of schools and businesses on the horizon, doctors have expressed the likelihood of separation anxiety, public anxiety, survivors guilt, and of course, grief over all those who have been lost. Expressing the importance of taking care of your mental health and sharing resources can help fight the stigma and let your constituents know that we are in this together every step of the way. Below are several resources if you or someone you know is in need of support: 

    • Mobile Crisis Service 2-1-1: If your child is actively harming themselves, having suicidal thoughts, or planning to hurt others, call 911, or 2-1-1 and press option 1 for the Mobile Crisis Service. This is a 24 hour, 7 day a week free service to have your child immediately evaluated by a mental health professional. NOTE: If calling by cell phone, 2-1-1 can also be reached toll-free at: 800-203-1234 
    • National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-TALK (8255) for English, 1-888-628- 9454 for Spanish, or Lifeline Crisis Chat.
    • Crisis Text Line - Text “HOME” to 741-741, or visit for more info.
    • NAMI Education Courses: The National Alliance on Mental Illness offers online education programs for parents and caregivers to learn more about supporting youth who are experiencing mental health symptoms. The NAMI Basics OnDemand is a free, six-session that can be completed on-demand, at your pace.
    • The State of Connecticut has several mental health resource. Find the list here
    • The Connecticut Children's Behavioral Health Toolkit also has helpful resources for children experiencing a mental health crisis. 
    • State Rep. Liz Linehan's website also has helpful mental health resources for children.
    • WrapCT is part of the Connecting to Care network. WrapCT emphasizes is a holistic approach to addressing mental and behavioral health changes for children and family. Click here to learn more.
    • CHR Health can help young adults and teens who may be struggling with substance use disorder through a comprehensive network of support. For more information about CHR's Substance Screening and Treatment Recovery services, click here.

    As of February 15, 2022, UniteCT has stopped accepting new rent and electricity assistance applications and recertification. Tenants and landlords who have a Rent Relief Case number will have until March 31, 2022 to complete applications. Any case not fully completed by this date will be withdrawn. Click here to learn more.
    If you're having trouble paying your heating or energy bill, the East Hartford Public Library is hosting a virtual Winter Heating & Energy Assistance information session on Tuesday, March 8, 2022 from 6:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. During this webinar, you'll learn about the programs that can help you lower your monthly heating and energy bills. You'll learn about the CT Energy Assistance Program, energy efficiency, Eversource's payment plans, matching payment program, and protection from service disconnection. Register here.
    During these challenging economic times, there are nonprofits helping low-to-moderate income households stay warm this cold winter. Operation Fuel provides year-round heating and energy assistance for residents who may need a little extra support as oil prices climb. Those who are struggling to with their utility bills or heating costs can learn more about and apply for assistance through Operation Fuel here

    If you want to help support Operation Fuel's mission, you can support your neighbors in need through a financial donation. Learn more about donating to Operation Fuel here.

    The Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program is offering a free pop-up tax preparation clinics at Raymond Library, 840 Main St, on Sunday, March 13 from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. Participants must register to attend this workshop. To register, please call 2-1-1. Once connected, follow the prompts to press "3" and then "6" to set up an appointment. Walk-ins cannot be accommodated. 

    VITA is a volunteer program that provides no-cost tax preparation services for families with household incomes of up to $58,000. VITA volunteers are IRS-certified and help individuals prepare and file their taxes. To learn more, please click here.

    On March 15 from 7 p.m. to 8 p.m., the Governor's Prevention Partnership will hold a virtual Youth Substance Use Prevention webinar. During this informative event, participants will learn about the tools and information that can help an individual struggling with substance use. Additional guests include Jessica White, Program Manager, Communities & Schools, East Hartford Youth Services, and East Hartford Police Deputy Chief Donald Olson. To register and learn more, please click here.
    Join The Max Challenge, South Windsor Parks and Recreation, South Windsor Community Foundation, and South Windsor Food Alliance on Saturday, March 26 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. for its annual Family Fun Fair! This event helps support South Windsor residents and South Windsor Parks and Recreation projects and programs. This event aims to encourage healthy habits and community engagement, and 25% of proceeds will benefit the South Windsor Food Bank & Emergency Fund.

    There will be food trucks, vendors, seminars, dance, karate, and fitness demos, face painting, an obstacle course, and so much more! You can learn more about this event here.  

    East Hartford Public Schools Board of Education Chair Tyron Harris and Superintendent Nathan Quesnel will hold a virtual community town hall on March 23 at 4:30 p.m. During this event, families will learn more about the state of East Hartford schools and have their questions answered. To join the town hall, please click here. To call in to the event, call 929-436-2866 and use meeting ID 943 0989 8720. 

    Game on! 

    It's winter sports season at our middle and high schools! Click the links below for schedules of this week's games:

    You can also find schedules and results on the CIAC website.

    CIAC Website

    The state Department of Transportation recently announced permanent closures of the Route 2 Exit 5B on and off ramps in East Hartford starting March 13, 2022. The Eastbound off-ramp at Sutton Avenue and Westbound on-ramp at Cambridge Drive will be closed.

    Alternate routes will include:

    Traffic entering Route 2 Westbound via the Cambridge Drive On-Ramp can use the following alternate on-ramps: 

    • Maple Street Route 2 WB On-Ramp (0.4 miles South of Cambridge Drive)
    • Sutton Avenue to Main Street South to Maple Street
    • High Street Route 2 WB On-Ramp (0.6 miles north of Cambridge Drive)
    • Sutton Avenue to Main Street North to Brewer Street to West Brewer Street

    Traffic exiting Route 2 Eastbound via the Sutton Avenue Off-Ramp may use the following alternate off-ramps: 

    • Exit 5C Maple Street EB Off-Ramp (0.4 miles South of Sutton Ave)
    • Maple Street to Main Street to Sutton Avenue
    • Exit 5A High Street EB Off-Ramp (0.6 miles North of Sutton Ave)
    • High Street to Carter Street to Main Street to Sutton Ave

    To learn more about the closure, please click here.

    Construction on the bridge on I-291 and King Street over Podunk River in South Windsor starts Monday, March 7. King Street will have alternating traffic through the worksite. Detours will be announced. The project is scheduled to be completed on September 26, 2022. Learn more here.

    State and industry leaders recently returned from a trip abroad to Israel to build and strengthen connections between our state and companies seeking to expand to the United States. During this economic development trip, Connecticut representatives met with Israel's leading innovators including venture capitalists, incubators, accelerators, and thought leaders. The trip culminated with a VentureClash event that Connecticut Innovations led. The event featured 6 pitches from companies seeking to expand to the United States. You can read more about this economic development mission here.
    Our small businesses bring vibrancy to our community and keep the local economy moving forward. Businesses that want to begin offering small group health insurance to their employees can get started with Access Health CT. Small business employers and employees ca enroll any time of the year. Access Health CT plans offer essential health benefits including prescription drug coverage, preventative and wellness services, maternity and newborn care, lab services, ambulatory care, children's health and well-child care, and more. To learn more about the available plans and get started, click here.
    Hudson Bay Capital, a leading multi-billion dollar asset management firm, announced it will expand its operations to Greenwich, creating 40 new jobs in our state. The company was founded in 2006 and has offices in Connecticut, New York, Miami, and London. The Connecticut Department of Economic and Community development (DECD) is supporting the project by providing a grant in arrears up to $1,310,000, contigent upon the firm creating and retaining 40 new full-time jobs. Read the full announcement here.

    Through the state's Department of Labor, the American Job Center offers resources, information, and support for individuals throughout the state searching for a job. You can receive help writing a resume and attend interview technique workshops for those currently on the job hunt. For more information, click here.
    The State of Connecticut is hiring! You can find a variety of seasonal, part-time, and full-time positions. There are jobs open to members of the public as well as those already employed at a state agency or organization. You can find a full list of openings here.

    Click here for the Town Meetings calendar.

    Click here for the Community Events calendar.

    Click here for information on the East Hartford Public Library. 

    Click here for East Hartford Community Television. 



    Click here for the Public Meetings calendar.

    Click here for the Community Events calendar.

    Click here for information on the South Windsor Public Library. 

    Click here for South Windsor's Government Television Programming - watch LIVE town council meetings! 



    Click here for the Town Meetings and Community Events Calendar.

    Click here for information on the Manchester Public Library. 

    Click here for Manchester Public Television. 

    Upcoming Meetings and Events

    A full calendar of all events happening at the Capitol next week, including public hearings, is available on the General Assembly website

    You can find the agenda for public hearings on the calendar by clicking on the calendar item and following the link to the committee page. For instructions on how to testify at a public hearing, please click here.

    You can view a list of all the bills passed by the House so far this session here.

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