Public, Private, Catholic Schools All Oppose Nearly $28 Million in School Bus Cuts; CCM, COST, Big and Small Towns Concerned

by Categorized: CCM Date:

A coalition covering essentially every school in the state – public, independent, and Catholic - descended upon the state Capitol on Wednesday to protest cuts in money for school buses.

Seven different groups are opposing nearly $28 million in cuts that were made by the budget-writing appropriations committee for buses that serve both public and non-public schools. In many towns, the same buses are used as the drivers finish a shift for the local public school before picking up the students at a nearby private school that starts classes later.

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The coalition includes the Connecticut Association of Boards of Education (CABE), the Connecticut Federation of Catholic School Parents, the Connecticut Association of Independent Schools, the Connecticut Conference of Municipalities, and the Council of Small Towns, among others.

Similar cuts have been threatened in the past, but the money has been restored by both Democrats and Republicans in the legislature. Under state law, Connecticut has used public money to bus private school students since 1957 – during the tenures of the past nine governors.

Some lawmakers say they expect the money to be restored again this year, including $2.9 million for non-public schools.

“Under Connecticut law, transportation is considered part of a student’s right to a free public education.  Eliminating funding for school transportation imposes a multi-million dollar unfunded mandate on our towns and cities,” said Jim Finley, the CEO of CCM. “Coupled with other budget cuts, the elimination of this funding will shift more of the burden onto property taxpayers to fund education.”

The General Assembly rejected similar proposals under Governor Lowell P. Weicker, and the money was restored. The proposed elimination of the busing program in the early 1990s would have affected many well-known schools in the Hartford area, including Kingswood-Oxford in West Hartford, Loomis Chaffee in Windsor, East Catholic High in Manchester and Renbrook School in West Hartford.

The executive director of the Connecticut Association of Independent Schools, which represents Catholic, Jewish, Episcopal, and non-denominational schools, said at the time that the proposal could have boomeranged by forcing some cash-strapped private schools to close or boost tuition prohibitively high.

The state policy started more than 50 years ago during the tenure of Gov. Abraham Ribicoff when a tie was broken in the legislature by House Speaker Nellie Brown.

The law applies only to private schools where more than 50 percent of the students are permanent residents of Connecticut. As a result, prestigious schools such as Miss Porter\’s School in Farmington and Choate Rosemary Hall in Wallingford have not been involved in the program at times in the past. The subsidies also apply only to students who live in the same town as the school, such as Windsor students who attend Loomis Chaffee.

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4 thoughts on “Public, Private, Catholic Schools All Oppose Nearly $28 Million in School Bus Cuts; CCM, COST, Big and Small Towns Concerned

  1. The Conn-servative

    All of these schools shouldn’t complain,just look at what they’re getting in return for their sacrifice:1. A most beneficial busway 2. $300 million Jackson labs where the state gets 200 jobs after 10 years — guaranteed !!! 3. Early prisoner release with just 2,count them 2 murders attributed to it. 4. Land swap deal with state land that hasn’t fully gone away. 5. For the next blogger to fill in…… 6.Same as #5…….
    All private businesses should follow the Malloy model for fiscal,sound,financial management.

    1. Connecticut is Circling the Drain

      5. Endless energy on social engineering legislation. 6. Endless taxation, borrowing and spending. 7. An absentee Governor who is more comfortable out of state than he is looking for real solutions to our problems. 8. A puppet of state labor unions who would rather blow up the budget than address unsustainable state worker costs.

  2. bill collignon

    Take away what you wish, just stop taxing me for an education my kids aren’t receiving.

  3. ThConn-servative

    Fair enough. And I don’t want my tax dollars going to Planned Abortion to support said abortions. I also hope that you have on some bracelet,the fact that you don’t want to be treated at any hospital that starts with ST.(saint), in the event you are unconscious and unable to communicate. This will free up some room in the er for many others. And for what it’s worth, I support the “saint” hospitals and schools NOT accepting so much as a penny from government,so that they can support their religous views through medicine and schooling. I wish they wouldn’t take any money because some day, it will be illegal to pray in a “saint” school because of regressives such as yourself. By the way, I thought your school practiced “tolerance”? Oh that’s right,again only as you get to define it.

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