Thursday night is the public’s last chance to speak about Mayor Joe Ganim’s $572 million spending plan for the budget year starting July 1 under review by the City Council’s Budget & Appropriations Committee.
A public hearing will be conducted by Zoom/Teleconference at 6 p.m. The public
may dial in to this meeting by calling the following conference line and then entering the conference code:
Dial-In Number: (929) 436 2866
Meeting ID: 965 268 353
Ganim’s budget includes $2 million more for public schools, something education advocates assert doesn’t go far enough.
During his 2019 reelection, Ganim promised more money for schools while providing a tax cut that translates into this budget proposal $1.4 million representing roughly $35 savings per residential homeowner. Some budget committee members prefer to reallocate the $1.4 million to boost the total education increase by $3.4 million.
Last week Joe Sokolovic, who chairs the Board of Education’s Finance Committee, urged the City Council to step up funding for schools:
The city council must find additional monies for our children. We, as a city must step up at least as much as the city of Waterbury. Looking at the per pupil expenditures, provided to you by Ms. Siegel, does not show the whole picture. Waterbury spends $16,048 in total per pupil while Bridgeport spends only $14,697 per pupil, while this looks bad on its surface, looking even deeper it is much worse. Waterbury Public Schools receive tens of millions of dollars less from the state than does Bridgeport Public Schools. How is that possible that Waterbury Schools spend more per pupil than Bridgeport? When they have lower per capita income and smaller grand list? It is so simple yet it’s sad. Waterbury contributes about $106 million dollars in local tax dollars or $5,585 per student, while Bridgeport only contributes about $66.8 million for about 1,000 less students or $3,233 per student! A difference of $2,252 per student. If the city of Bridgeport funded its public schools at the same level as Waterbury, it would mean an increase of about $45.3 million enough to reverse every cut made over the last 4 years with some leftover to add services!
The budget committee is expected to execute changes to Ganim’s proposal this weekend in advance of a full City Council vote Monday night. The budget then returns to the mayor for possible veto action.