House votes to delay education reforms

The State House of Representatives overwhelmingly voted on a bill that delays the package of school reforms passed last year in the state’s bid to capture federal Race to the Top money.

The legislature’s budget office estimates the increased graduation requirements alone would cost up to $29 million to hire the additional teachers needed for the additional required courses and to develop the end-of-course exams.

“Very few districts feel they are in the position to implement that,” Rep. Andy Fleischmann, the co-chairman of the Education Committee, said before the House approved the delaying most of the reforms in a 139-9 vote. “We do not have federal funds available.”

When legislators passed the reforms last year, they were counting on $175 million in federal funding to implement them.

The state Senate is expected to approve the bill in the next week. However, Malloy has deflected questions whether he supports the delay and his budget director has said the state could wait to make this decision until next year since many costs do not begin in the upcoming fiscal year.

The State Board of Education in February reiterated its support for the reforms and asked state legislators not delay the changes.