Although there hasn't yet been time to digest all the implications of Governor Rell's proposed state budget for 2009-2011, there is one item that undoubtedly has them popping champagne corks over at the Board Of Education offices on Hunting Hill Avenue. Non-alcoholic champagne, of course.
According to the Hartford Courant, it was announced today that Governor Rell will propose a budget that includes the same level of state funding for education in Middletown. Until now, Superintendent Michael Frechette has been cautioning the Board of Ed to expect at least $2 million less in state funding than we received this year.
State funding makes up nearly a quarter of this year's school budget of $69,350,000. Less funding from the state would have meant either budget cuts or local tax increases.
On February 10th, the school board is expected to vote on a budget for 2009-2010, which will then go to the Common Council for their approval (or their rejection). Even with the good news that the state will not cut Middletown's share of education funding, there is still a gap of nearly $4 million between the budget for the current year and what it would take to keep the same level of services for next year. The school board has the option to ask the City for an additional 5.61 % in funding to close that gap, or propose cuts in current services.
Stay tuned -- and if you care about local education services, take a moment to celebrate!