A Great Visit to Bethel Public SchoolsMay 4, 2023
This week, I invited Education Committee Chair Jeff Currey to visit Bethel Public Schools to meet our teachers and students and discuss the importance of fully funding our schools.
Thank you to Superintendent, Dr. Christine Carver for hosting us and Christine Spala, Director of Special Education Services, for highlighting the need for special education funding.
Bethel’s excellent public schools have helped us become a community that we are proud to be a part of, but growth in our area has challenged our community and filled our schools. Bethel has seen a 9% increase in enrollment (268) over the last six years, including a projected 5.1% over the next ten years, which includes a significant increase in the number of students identified with additional needs.
Teachers, administrators, businesses, and residents have stepped up to support our students and help cover some of the costs of preparing them for their futures. Our students need the state to step up and fully fund our schools. I want to thank Chair Currey for introducing HB 5003: An Act Concerning Education Funding in Connecticut. This bill deals with the state’s disjointed Education Cost Sharing formula. It ensures that public schools throughout the state receive the funding they need to provide a high-quality education to all students. While the additional $375 million needed to fully fund our public schools in Fiscal Year 25 was not included in the Appropriations Committee Budget, $150 million was added. This investment is something we have not seen in decades and is a starting point for ongoing negotiations with the Governor and his team.
As we debate the budget, I will hold firm in supporting fiscal discipline and fiscal stability to make sure long-term we have the money to cover our deficits without cutting education funding.