Education reformers from across the country met with Connecticut lawmakers and concerned parents to discuss the impact of school choice and the need for education reforms in Connecticut. Yankee Institute, EdChoice and the Connecticut Parents Union hosted “Building a Child-Centered Education” at the Mark Twain House in Hartford on Monday, Jan. 23. Speakers made the case that parents should have options about what schools their children attend presented options for reform in Connecticut.
Marc E. Fitch
On Tuesday the Transportation Committee heard testimony on Senate Bill 76, which would prohibit Gov. Dannel Malloy from spending $300,000 to study the effects and possible implementation of a mileage tax. The mileage tax would tax residents based on the number of miles they drive. Connecticut is one of five states participating in the study but is contributing the most money.
Connecticut teachers would be wise to avoid leaving the profession early if they hope to see a return on their pension contributions, according to a new study published by the Thomas B. Fordham Institute, an education policy think-tank. According to the study, which looked at teacher pension systems in all fifty states, Connecticut public school teachers must work a minimum of 25 years before their pension benefit will equal more than they paid into the system, after adjusting for inflation.
Connecticut state agencies are making payments in excess of $100,000 to departing employees in order to avoid lawsuits or to keep the employee quiet about their issues working for the state. The payments were revealed in the state auditors 2016 report to the General Assembly. The auditors found that these payments were not part of any legal settlement made by the Attorney General’s office, nor were they authorized by the governor as required by state statute.
Connecticut was one of sixteen states that saw an increase in the number of union members. The percentage of workers represented by labor unions grew from 17.4 percent in 2015 to 18.4 percent in 2016. Nationally, the rate of unionization fell. There was a dramatic 61 percent increase in the number of people who decline union membership while still being represented by a union for collective bargaining - sometimes known as agency fee payers.
The estimated costs for renovating and expanding Holland Hill Elementary School in Fairfield have grown from $9 million to $21 million since planning began in 2015. But a town watchdog group called Fairfield Taxpayer published a lengthy critique of the project on January 8 making the case that the project needs to be curtailed in light of the increased costs and fiscal problems at the state level which have resulted in decreased education and school construction funding to towns.