Connecticut’s teacher pension fund leaves more questions than answers for both taxpayers and teachers, according to a study by the National Council on Teacher Quality. The report showed that despite the praise often heaped on teacher pension plans, they are becoming more costly to teachers, less flexible and ultimately unsustainable.
The University of Connecticut paid one dozen employees large settlements - many over $100,000 - to get them to resign and keep quiet about their time in state government, according to state auditors. Other agencies participated in the practice, too, although less frequently. The Auditors of Public Accounts faulted the practice because the agreements lacked oversight from the governor or attorney general as required by law and keeps potential whistleblowers from speaking out.
Facing a $3 billion deficit over the next two years, Malloy appears poised to propose a budget that achieves balance without significantly raising state taxes. At the same time, Malloy's changes to education funding could result in property tax increases in some towns. Malloy's proposal has three main components: changing the Education Cost Sharing formula, creating a separate fund for special education and changing the minimum budget requirement for towns.
Students from New Light High School, an alternative high school in New Haven, met Thursday with Rep. Robyn Porter, D-New Haven, and Sen. Len Fasano, R-North Haven, to discuss their concerns and learn about the political process. Although the students remained largely quiet, their adult escorts – including teachers – brought up the issue of job opportunity and the fact that young people are leaving the state.
Gov. Dannel Malloy proposed a new way to fund Connecticut teacher pensions Friday with towns and cities contributing one third of the costs or roughly $407 million. "At a time when state government is making difficult cuts to services, we can no longer afford to exclude how we pay for teacher pensions from the conversations,” Malloy said in a statement.
In a series of impassioned speeches, community and organization leaders made the case for school choice and better options for parents living in Connecticut’s cities. Gwen Samuel, head of Connecticut Parents Union, hosted Creating Opportunity for Every Child as part of Black History Month. Samuel said school choice means “that, as a mother, I should have the right to do what is best for my children and all children. That is what choice is.”