Lamont “Tone Deaf” To Education Funding

When Ned Lamont campaigned for governor in 2018 he pledged to fully fund education in Bridgeport.

He said it would not happen overnight but at some point he’d get there to ease stress on overburdened local taxpayers and provide more resources to municipal education. So far he hasn’t lived up to the pledge with the state awash in surpluses.

The advocacy arm of cities and towns in the state, Connecticut Conference of Municipalities, is pushing legislation to make education funding more equitable.

The organization’s leader Joe DeLong says the governor “may be a little tone deaf to our challenges.”

While meeting with reporters last week in his Capitol office, Lamont expressed disappointment that legislative budget panels want to move hundreds of millions of dollars outside of spending cap while shifting hundreds of millions more from this year’s surplus into the next budget cycle.

From CCM

Legislation being considered in 2023 which addresses those inequities and promotes student-centered funding to enhance education funding students, parents, teachers, and communities across Connecticut.  This is achieved by:
— Funding all public-school students based on their learning needs;
— Fully funding the ECS grant, which supports all local school districts;
— Fully funding public schools of choice; and
— Giving districts the financial stability to make meaningful, long-term investments in resources such as teachers, counselors, social workers, school psychologists, and student support services and programs.

Specific information regarding the proposals can be found here: Infographic

A majority of schools throughout the state will see an increase in education funding under the proposed changes. Specific details regarding the estimated financial impact the changes will have on individual school districts can be found here: District Financial Impact

CCM has been partnering with a variety of organizations to promote education funding changes, among them has been the School + State Finance Project. They have a variety of other information available here: Education Funding Resources



  1. From a previous post:

    Joseph Sokolovic says:
    April 27, 2023 at 9:35 pm
    My public testimony, and more!
    Good evening, ladies and gentlemen, my name is Joseph Sokolovic. I am the finance chair of Bridgeport Board of education, speaking on behalf of more than 19,000 students and 2,500 staff. I would like to thank you for the opportunity to speak this evening. It was an opportunity that was not provided to any board member during the board of ed presentation on Tuesday. This is the third consecutive year that the budgets and appropriations committee has refused to allow board members to speak. I guess they like operating in an echo chamber of misinformation, and misdirection.
    Tuesday’s budget and appropriations committee was the worst example of smoke and mirrors I have seen in the last decade. The finance director purposefully conflated the operating budget funds provided by the city of Bridgeport with the State grant funds and bonding for city owned buildings. This is troublesome, as the state delegation has stated repeatedly, that the state is less likely to fund Bridgeport because Bridgeport refuses to fund itself. Bridgeport, of the 169 municipalities funds its schools at the lowest, or second lowest, on a per pupil basis in the entire state! The State however, gives Bridgeport the second largest dollar amount of the 169 municipalities. The state is not going to save us. To be clear Bridgeport only provided 73 million local tax dollars, while the city of Waterbury provided 106 million local tax dollars to education in the last budget. Waterbury received far less from the state.
    Also, in the response to Ms. Seigel’s presentation, the city budget director claimed that the cost of controlling traffic on city streets is a contribution to education. Traffic control is not education, it is a city responsibility. Another attempted sleight of hand was the attempt by Ganim’s budget director was to include interest payments on city owned property as education. That’s like a landlord telling their tenants that he has helped them afford their groceries this year because he paid the mortgage interest on the house or building he owns that you’re living in. Lastly in an outright misstatement of facts, it was asserted that the accumulated savings, or rainy day fund, in the education department was owned and controlled by the city. I don’t doubt that Ganim’s budget directors are acting on his orders to purposefully mislead you into thinking we cant afford more than 2 million for education, when the public safety, facilities and general budget is receiving 2 to 3 times more of an increase than education.
    This the is the 8th consecutive year that Mayor Ganim, and the city council, have shortchanged education. The first four years they basically flat funded our children, and the next four years they missed the target by millions of dollars. Since Ganim took office, there has been over 243 jobs cut from education and at least another 117 slated to end at the beginning of the 24/25 school year when ESSER (covid) funds run out. That number does not include coming cuts in the operating budget due to a structural deficit.
    Bridgeport’s children cannot afford four more years of joe Ganim. We’ve got choices for Mayor and city council, some of which have attended Board of Ed finance forum now and in the past we need to vote out Mayor Ganim and maybe the entire city council as well if they do not add the dollars we need to the education budget.
    Added after public speaking for OIB
    I am not sure yet who I am supporting, I have yet to hear a solid education funding plan out of any candidate. It would be foolish for any contender not to come out strong for education funding as in the last primary, it was administrations neglect of our schools that made it close, even with all the misteps in that race. Ganim himself even acknowledged his weakness on education at a narrow primary victory celebration.
    So Bridgeport what will you do this primary? Will you once again vote for the white male who has been underfunding our black and brown students or will you choose from amongst the three candidates of color that never betrayed the city?

    Jeff Kohut says:
    April 28, 2023 at 5:17 pm

    “…The state is not going to save us. To be clear Bridgeport only provided 73 million local tax dollars, while the city of Waterbury provided 106 million local tax dollars to education in the last budget. Waterbury received far less from the state….”

    Joe: Isn’t there something in the Connecticut state constitution that indicates a state responsibility for providing every Connecticut child with a suitable, adequate education? (E.g., Sheff vs. O’Neill; the Moukawsher Decision). This would seem to indicate that the onus is on the state for maintaining educational standards and funding across all municipalities — even Bridgeport…
    Bridgeport’s miniscule, shrinking grand list, consisting increasingly of working-class, residential taxpayers, is incapable of dealing with the huge demands placed on our services and infrastructure by our residents, businesses, and the parasitic suburban entities (Trumbull, et al) (+ SHU) that get a free ride on our services and infrastructure even as they siphon away Bridgeport tax base and divert potential tax base to themselves and away from us… Waterbury, et al., are not stressed to nearly the same extent in these regards.

    Sympathy lies with the school-aged children of Bridgeport, but Bridgeport reality indicates that our city can’t meet their needs… We can’t even adequately staff our PD and maintain traffic safety on our streets, or peace and safety for residents in our parks. Your efforts should be directed toward Harford, and possibly DC, not toward our failing, mismanaged, rudderless, leaderless city and its beleaguered residential taxpayers…

    In regard to our city’s leadership deficiencies, while, indeed, it would be appropriate to have elected leadership representative of our racial and ethnic composition, it certainly isn’t inappropriate for our people to select leadership from among our minority white population in the context of our democratic processes. Indeed, aren’t you a white man elected to lead the city’s school system, which consists of about 75% students of color?… Truly, it is bad policy and form — ultimately harmful and inappropriate — to include race, in and of itself, as a leadership problem — or requirement. We don’t need divisive voices speaking inappropriately about vital city issues, such as education, in a racially-inflammatory context…

    With appropriate minority representation (albeit, sans Hispanic representation) comprising the current field of Bridgeport mayoral candidates, we should look to a (carefully scrutinized, with outside oversight) democratic process to select our next mayor.

    In addition, Bridgeporters that would envision a revitalized Bridgeport must be made fully conscious of the state and federal neglect and abuse of Bridgeport — in terms of their shortcomings in providing appropriate/adequate financial aid to the state’s largest city even as they sanction and promote exploitation and abuse of our municipality and its residents by “the region.”
    Our schools will never improve with a BOE president that apparently has no insight into the full political realities that have rendered his school district grossly underfunded and dysfunctional.

    Your first call Monday morning should be to the Governor’s Office, Joe; the second call should be to Congressman Himes. Then, you might sit down and seriously consider how you might best serve as an agent of positive change for your school system and city…

  2. Will comment on this at some point tomorrow as it is a totally separate issue from local funding. Need to gather all my factual information with links to primary documents to support everything I write.

  3. Lennie any possibility of adding the ability to add photos to comments (pending moderation perhaps)?

    It sure would help refute all the misinformation regarding the budget and everything Bridgeport.

  4. Pencil box, Lennie got you on moderation too. 🤣

    My issue outside of politics is all and the brick and mortar (school environment) It always seems to be about expanding, in the name of the students/education, but often an attempt to pad out the administration end of the system that really has nothing to do with eleven a better education to the Port students. JS

    I don’t even want to get into the ideology of those in charge of the education of the youth, but I heard schools, some even in CT, are now putting cat litter boxes in bathrooms in support of kids who are identifying as cats.

    Not sure if kids are identifying as dogs but I would assume the BOE will start having bathrooms with fire hydrants next.

    What’s the real difference between private-funded education and public-funded education? Seems the same in most aspects, just who dime, No, Yes? Just asking,

  5. Follow-up post:
    Joe: You said in your rebuttal “…One I am not board president. Two you are regurgitating some urban legend pushed by countless administrations that it is our weak grand list that prevents investment in education. This is simply not factual. Bridgeports net grand list (total taxable property) is equal to or higher than New Haven, Hartford, and Waterbury, yet they contribute more per pupil than Bridgeport. In fact Waterbury grand list is about 1.5 billion less than Bridgeport yet Waterbury gives over 30 million dollars more from the local tax base.l: ”

    OK. You are not the BOE Chair/President — I should have known better. But, to the more important points(s); by your own grand list information on Waterbury, that city, with 40,000 fewer people than Bridgeport, has a per capita grand list value that exceeds that of Bridgeport by about $6,000… The further inference that can be made here is that their per capita stresses on their budget are smaller (e.g., police and fire) even as their per-capita taxable value, per citizen, is higher — so, of course they can kick in more for their schools! As for New Haven and Hartford — they have Yale and the Capitol benefit, respectively, lifting their municipal financial wherewithal… So, in this regard, you are not using a suitable comparison(s) to Bridgeport. Bridgeport is quite unique in its financial and socioeconomic circumstances.

    But the most distressing thing about your commentary and rebuttal is that you don’t seem to know enough Bridgeport or its position in the political pecking order of the region/State of Connecticut to appreciate paragraph 3 of my statement: “Bridgeport’s miniscule, shrinking grand list, consisting increasingly of working-class, residential taxpayers, is incapable of dealing with the huge demands placed on our services and infrastructure by our residents, businesses, and the parasitic suburban entities (Trumbull, et al) (+ SHU) that get a free ride on our services and infrastructure even as they siphon away Bridgeport tax base and divert potential tax base to themselves and away from us… Waterbury, et al., are not stressed to nearly the same extent in these regards.”

    How long have you lived in Bridgeport, Joe?

  6. Conspiracy? Ineptitude? Or outright self dealing?

    Now I’ll move on to the state funding of our public schools and the historic, and present failure of our delegation to equitably (there’s that triggering word again) bring money back to Bridgeport for education.

    We begin with the premise that the largest school district in the state should always receive the largest education slice of the state tax funded pie. Sadly, it does not and historically has not. As stated before in another post the state is reluctant to help Bridgeport until it helps itself. But like in my last post the state and our delegation should be her accountable for their actions and or in actions.

    Let’s talk about hb 5003 the States version of Ganim’s & co. smoke and mirrors. It’s because of 5003 that for the first time I was forced to testify in favor of the governors budget.

    Let’s look at the Gov budgets and the scheme that is hb 5003. The Governors budget while in and of itself is inadequate it is more Equitable as it gives Bridgeport a larger increase than every district with the exception of Waterbury. This is the first time (since I’ve been monitoring the state ECS that Bridgeport has received not only $1 more than Hartford and New Haven but upwards of over a million dollars more than each. The Governor’s bill also allows Bridgeport to continue to charge magnet school tuition for its inter-district and vocational schools in the amount of up to $3k per student. With about 500 seats with the ability to charge that’s a loss of $1.5 million dollars of lost revenue, in perpetuity, under hb 5003.

    Click link to see data on my FB page

    So what else is wrong with hb 5003? Plenty. 5003 is severely inequitable. While it would’ve brought Bridgeport 14 million dollars in the short run, in the long run it would put Bridgeport even further behind its peer districts. For example while Bridgeport would’ve gained a +$14 million dollar benefit other districts would receive much more. For example: Hartford +$26.8 million more; New Haven +$25 million more; Waterbury +$27.5 million more and New Britain +$14.3 million more. That’s not as bad as it could’ve been under last sessions iteration l, when I began advocating against passing 5003, Bridgeport would only have “gained” 3.49 million dollars overall as there was an issue of properly accounting for Bridgeport’s poverty level that has since been corrected.

    So what else is wrong with 5003 besides shortchanging the states largest black and brown school district? Plenty. Now we move on to the charter school issue and the money grab. Note: many charter schools charge “management fees” to the tune of 1 million plus for schools under 800 students.

    To begin the charter school conversation in Bridgeport we must discuss the $48 million + in funding that Bridgeport charter schools currently will receive form the state under current law. That is a fiscally unsound practice that dilutes public tax dollars by increasing transportation costs by adding 6 schools (which by law must come out of Bridgeport Public School budget) stretching even thinner our special education staff to cover six additional schools (again mandated by state law).

    Under HB 5003, Bridgeport’s charter schools stand to gain at least 7 million additional dollars. The charter schools in the state stand to gain 10’s of millions a dollars more. Is it any wonder that the executive director of the CT Charter Schools association Ruben Felipe (hey that name sounds very similar to one of our state reps that is sponsoring this bill) is advocating so hard for 5003?

    Thankfully, 5003 failed to make it into the legislature proposed budget, but it is not dead yet. The legislature has proposed a $150 million dollar slush fund for “educational finance reform”. If one does not pay attention to how this money is divided I fear our delegation will sit by silently and watch while the lions share of these funds will go to much more savvy districts with representation that is much stronger. The largest school district should be the largest beneficiary of any increase in state funding.

    So how should that proposed $150 million dollars be fairly distributed? I’d advocate to Bridgeport’s delegates and the 168 other municipalities representatives to demand that these dollars be distributed equitably, in the same proportion as the original ESSER (Covid) dollars. This way every district from Greenwich to Bridgeport receives a fair share. As this $150 million is about 50% more than the Esser amount every district would get an infusion 50% larger than its initial round of Esser funding. That would mean $15 million for Bridgeport.

    Charter schools are often touted as a means to bring equitable (there’s that word again)education to black and brown students. Yet when compared to Public Magnet schools there is little to no difference in outcome. Charter schools in Bridgeport MAY be a choice for a lucky few students in Bridgeport, but the remaining 90% of the student population could use the $48 million plus so that their education could be adequately funded. BPS certainly has the capacity to absorb those students without increasing costs very much. Can you imagine what services could be added back if we were to take such a bold step? I can! Kindergarten Para’s in every classroom a nurse in every school, wraparound services!

    So keep a watch on our delegates so we can insure that they do not accept accept less than Bridgeports true public schools deserve. Do not allow our delegates to shortchange our children to benefit the Charter Schools and their politically connected paid advocates and management organizations. Charter school growth depends on cannibalizing public schools. The more funds directed to charters the worse our schools do, the more attractive charters become. Charter schools lack the oversight that our traditional public schools receive and there is a lot more room for corruption.

    One would think that with the combination of HB 5003 and local underfunding that there was a conspiracy afoot to undermine public education and redirect public dollars to these Charter school Management organizations. If you know anything about Bridgeport politics and the incestuous relationships between many of these players it’s not that far fetched that they are working in tandem to decimate our schools.

  7. Pencil Box I see your ingenuity was able to find a way to post pictures on OIB, good Job. 🙂

    I am leaning towards outright self-serving, with a tinge of self-dealing. 🙂

    With regards to State funding, it has been said many times on OIB because of G2/Port’s corruptive behavioral politics the Port lost out on much-needed funding, like no-show/do nothing, patronage jobs, or contract locations.

    The last time I check BBOE is in the Port and adheres to the same political system/structure. So can it be said educational funding is held back because of corruption in the BBOE? Just asking. 🙂

    I will say this, that shit with integration without segregation and the withheld of resources (teachers) at Cross to devalue Port’s education for both black and brown students, the majority of members of the BBOE supported leans toward a conspiracy of Ineptitude corruption to devalue Port’s education of black and brown students on full display. If your horse blinder allows you to see it people. JS

    I depart with Sugar Ray, not to be confused with Charles Ray. Good luck with those wings, people.


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