NEW HAVEN, Conn. (WTNH) — Dozens of students, educators and parents rallied Tuesday afternoon near Wilbur Cross High School to call for funding for the state’s public schools.
The Recovery for All coalition is asking for higher taxes on the wealthy to fund schools, stating that Connecticut has an “upside down” tax structure, according to an announcement. The group also wants Gov. Ned Lamont to invest the state’s billions of surplus dollars.
The current tax structure has led to underfunded schools, larger class sizes and thousands of teacher vacancies, according to Recovery for All.
The group asked for $330 million, which includes boosting pay for teachers and investing in special education programs and.
“The current budget proposed by Governor Lamont would cause drastic tuition hikes, which would hurt our students across the state,” said Seth Freeman, the president of 4CS SEIU Local 1973. “So, we need funding to ensure we don’t have to raise tuition on our students, first and foremost, and we also need funding to help improve the quality of education that we provide to our students.”
Leslie Blatteau, the president of the New Haven Federation of Teachers, said that educators constantly hear that there’s not enough money in the budget and that there will have to be cuts.
“We just don’t see it being fair or equitable, and we do have a solution,” Blatteau said. “The solution is rather than continuing to ask cities like New Haven, Hartford, New Britain, Bridgeport to cut from our public education system, why can’t we make sure that the ultrawealthy and corporations pay what they owe in taxes so that we can truly have an equitable system?”
In a written statement, Lamont said that his budget increases education funding by $135 million, in addition to $720 million in federal resources over the next two years. His budget also allocates an extra $10 million in flexible grants to address staffing shortages, and $7 million for the LEAP program to cut down on absenteeism.
The statement reads that funding schools is the governor’s “top priority” and that his plan has the largest amount of state funding spent on the University of Connecticut in the state’s history.
“The governor wants more taxpayers, not more taxes, while providing real relief that families can count on,” the written statement reads. “That’s why he has proposed a historic broad-based middle class tax cut and increase to the Earned Income Tax Credit.”
The rally was planned as New Haven Public Schools ends its search for a new superintendent. Darnell Goldson, a member of the board of education, said that Madeline Negron has been chosen to step into the role.
Negon has previously worked in Windham and New Haven, and is currently at Hartford schools. The announcement is expected to be made official during a special board of education meeting on Wednesday night.
Turn to News 8 starting at 5 p.m. to hear more.