To the Editor:
Growing up, I was blessed to receive an education in Fairfield County, an area known for the finest public schools in the country. Our State Constitution contained a guarantee of this blessing, and its implementation was made a reality by the many volunteers who served on local Boards of Education, by dedicated teachers in the schools, by the parents and grandparents of the students, and by the taxpayers who paid their taxes. Now we learn that through tax-and-spend policies and the complete mismanagement of our state’s finances, their contribution to this blessing is on the chopping block.
On March 15, 2017, Ben Barnes, Governor Malloy’s secretary of policy and management, came to Newtown to meet with our Legislative Council. He said, “Newtown appears less needy compared to other towns” (The Newtown Bee, 3/17/17), a subtle way of saying “you can afford it.” He was referencing a proposed $4,527,783, midyear, elimination of the State Education Grant for Newtown, among other grants, and shifting state underfunded obligations onto our town. In other words, Newtown is being penalized for being a financially well-run town. Who does the governor expect will make up this multimillion-dollar loss in revenue? The answer is Newtown’s real property taxpayers, of course. The tab for local taxpayers could be as much as a seven or eight percent tax increase. A budget was due from Hartford in July. It is now September and school has started. A “worst case” scenario is still on the table. Whatever backroom deal is struck, the burden on Newtown taxpayers will likely be substantial.
I have a grandchild in the Newtown schools and I want her to receive the best education possible. I have pledged total opposition to Governor Malloy’s plan to steal our educational grant money and push the state’s problems onto the Newtown property taxpayers. As a former state senator myself, I am familiar with the backroom politics of Hartford and the Democrat dealmaking with Dan Malloy. As a former first selectman, I know how tight municipal budgets are and the anxiety of wondering if promised state aid will ever come. I am in regular communication with our representatives and senators in Hartford and hope you will join me in supporting them as they fight to save Newtown’s full Education Funding Grant.
George C. Guidera
24 Equestrian Ridge, Newtown September 13, 2017