Pinching Pennies Sends a Signal About How We Value Education


The Hartford Board of Education Friday voted 7-1 to back Superintendent Leslie Torres-Rodriguez’s amended Fiscal 2018 budget, which goes forward without a City increase for the ninth consecutive year.  The minus-$12.6 million, or 3 percent decrease from the past year takes into account the State’s day-by-day budget uncertainties (as to whether even further cuts are coming).  The process this year casts doubt on whether the State values its capital city – and whether the State and City value Hartford education.


In a grim special meeting this past Friday, the Board lamented its $3 million in cuts from the art, behavior technician, central office (of school improvement), family resource aide, library/media, music, reading, school nurse, and special education positions.  On the other hand, school-based amendments focused on supporting comprehensive intervention, English, health, kindergarten, math, and science, netting a $1 million increase.  All told, the Fiscal 2018 budget reflects a rather remarkable juggling act; it decreased central office costs by $1 million and used the co-location of the Culinary Arts and Journalism Media Academies to save another half-million dollars.


Here is the superintendent’s detailed discussion from last Friday.


A $2 million “asterisked” placeholder credit is pending adoption of the State budget, which means … it ain’t over until the legislature sings.