The 2016 session of the General Assembly opened today (Wednesday, February 3) with Governor Malloy releasing his proposed budget adjustments for the year starting July 1. State revenues are still below what was expected for the current year, and the situation looks even more bleak for next year with a shortfall of $570 million or three percent of the state budget. It is clear that there is no appetite for raising taxes, and so the result will be cuts in staff and services.
What does this mean for after school funding?
The specifics are unclear,** but we do know that there will be cuts, and that people who care about state funding for after school and summer programs will have to make their voices heard loud and clear if it is to survive.
Here’s how you can help:
- Sign the Petition, and get others to sign on too! Here’s the link: https://actionsprout.io/65A818/initial
Contact your legislators and express your concern about after school grant funding. Find your legislators here: https://www.cga.ct.gov/
asp/menu/CGAFindLeg.aspTell them: “Please fight for full funding in a separate line item for the state After School Grants in the Department of Education budget.”It helps if you can send the Network an email afterwards (or bcc if you email them) so that we can track which legislators are being reached – firstname.lastname@example.org
Write testimony about the importance of this funding to your community, families and students. Include at least one anecdote or example of how it has specifically helped. For formatting, please see examples from past years on-line here: http://
ctafterschoolnetwork.org/ advocacy-2/ You can address it to the same two people, Sen. Bye and Rep. Walker as they are still the chairs. No later than 1 pm on 2/16, email written testimony in Word or PDF format to APPtestimony@cga.ct.gov and copy the Network (email@example.com) on the email.
- Come to the Legislative Office Building at 4 pm on Tuesday, February 16, 2016 After School Day at the Capitol if you can! The public hearing starts at 4 pm and will run until very late, and it would be great if we had lots of people with our yellow INVEST IN AFTER SCHOOL stickers in the audience that evening.
- Help kids (and parents too!) draw pictures and write letters about why after school is important (you can use the form here then send them to the Network via email to mdc@ctafterschoolnetwork or better still via regular mail to CT After School Network, 75 Charter Oak Avenue, Building 2, Suite 2-150, Hartford, CT 06106.
** NOTE ON PROPOSED BUDGET CHANGES: The Governor’s budget proposes a radical change to the way the state would manage its spending. It eliminates many line items, rolling the funding into a single line item for each department called “Agency Operations” which would be up to the Commissioner of each department to determine how to spend it. And then he proposed decreases in the total amount for each department, so the commissioners would decide what gets cut. The General Assembly will not likely support this change, which essentially eliminates their power over specific line items, and so the ball is now in their court. The legislature has three months, until May 3, to negotiate and pass a state budget. So now is the time to act!