WEST HARTFORD, Conn. (WTNH) — As the federal government gets ready to write the first pandemic relief check to Connecticut, hundreds of teachers and union workers are marching around the capital.
They want to make sure that money makes it into the right hands. That’s what the rallies are about, letting the governor and lawmakers know they want their share of the pie. More than $1 billion of CARES aid money heading into Connecticut, but what happens after it is spent? There’s a big concern about that as well.
Jeff Leake, President CEA, “We are the richest state in the richest country in the history of the world, we can do this!”
Teachers and school staff marching to the capital circling the building telling lawmakers they must spend the money on recovering Connecticut, and education should be at the top of the list.
“We have worked really hard to get kids back in, they have been remote learning but we are getting more back now but working with kids with special needs this was never going to be an easy task,” Stephanie Wanzer, teacher.
Teachers are concerned the federal money was given to the state with broad instructions, and it will be spent on things other then pandemic recovery. The governor says he’s listening.
“I was just at the Bristol elementary school today, asking the teachers to think really creatively how we use that money. Over the next couple of years, think about the social and emotional catch up that some of these kids have to do,” Governor Ned Lamont.
It’s not only the teachers union that’s marching. Other unions and faith leaders and community leaders were all there to hold the governor and lawmakers accountable to make sure that money goes into the community to help Connecticut recover from the pandemic.
“We want the governor to know we can do this right if we take care of all of Connecticut citizens, all the communities in Connecticut if we have a revenue stream that is ready to support that,” Leake adds.
Some of the money has already been spent on nursing home workers. They averted a strike last Friday, but they did get some big raises over the next four years, and now they’re wondering what’s next, for teachers and other workers in the state.