Recently the Board of Education and the administration of the Danbury Public Schools let in be known that their budget request for the 2012-13 fiscal year will require an additional 7.2 million dollars over their current budget.
The City Council and myself understand how important education is in our community. We understand that a solid education system is the foundation for so many other things within the City of Danbury. We get it, and we support the goals and the objectives as stated by the Board of Education and the administration.
But, we have to place the request in the context of the economy we are facing. Some of our families are under water on their homes, some of our families in Danbury have lost their homes to foreclosure, some are underemployed or haven't been able to find work. While we support the goals and objectives of the Board of Education, I believe that the City Council would agree with me that there is no way we can saddle our taxpayers with a tax increase of $600 - $700 this year - it's just not practical or possible.
As the budget season ramps up, I would encourage you to follow the education side of the budget ledger, it is the largest portion of our budget and one part that the city administration has no control over.
Your attention should also be on the State of CT. The state has not increased dollars for education in years, yet continue to load on more and more unfunded mandates. Governor Malloy has said that this year will be the education reform year.
Perhaps he should start by getting serious about the Education Cost Sharing formula. In Danbury, you should ask the state why the 8th largest city in Connecticut, New Britain, receives 3 times the amount of state aid for education than does Danbury, the 7th largest city.
Doesn't make sense to me, and probably won't make much sense to you either - no disrespect to New Britain.
It's that time of year again..