Proposal spares borough’s ECS grant

NAUGATUCK — As municipalities across the state react to proposed cuts in state education funding, Naugatuck is one of a handful of municipalities that would have funding restored under the proposal.

Gov. Dannel Malloy announced a budget proposal last week to close a projected $900 million state budget deficit for the 2016-17 fiscal year. As part of the plan, Malloy recommended cuts in the Education Cost Sharing (ECS) grant, the main state grant for education funding.

Malloy’s plan would have a wide-ranging impact on municipalities. Most municipalities would see their funding cut some or entirely, while a few have been spared. The legislature has final say over the budget plan so what, if any, ECS cuts come to fruition remains to be seen. For now, Naugatuck is one of the lucky few that aren’t being cut under Malloy’s plan.

“It’s really important to the borough and the taxpayers in this community because the ECS funding offsets the cost to the taxpayer,” Superintendent of Schools Sharon Locke said.

Naugatuck received $30.8 million, which is roughly 50 percent of its total education budget, from the grant this fiscal year.

In February, Malloy proposed cutting $31,690 from the borough’s grant for the 2016-17 fiscal year. However, the proposal announced last week restores the $31,690.

School officials are pleased with the plan.

“We are doing high quality stuff here and it costs money to run a district that’s doing the great things we are doing. We were thrilled to see it restored,” Locke said.

Board of Education Chairwoman Dorothy Neth-Kunin added, “I think it was great that it was restored. In looking at the whole document there were a number of schools that didn’t get the money restored, so I thought it was fantastic that we were able to get our money restored.”