New Democratic Governor Dannel Malloy’s budget czar, Ben Barnes, is briefing those of us in the capitol press corps on the proposed two-year state budget.
Malloy will present his fiscal plan to the full General Assembly at noon.
Among Malloy’s proposals is phasing in the state’s vocational technical high schools as local schools.
“We believe that those local districts and regions are best equipped to manage those schools and we are embarking on a long term process that will not shift costs to local governments, but will shift control,” Barnes said.
The vocational technical school system got quite a bit of press in 2009 and 2010 in part because of ex-Republican Governor M. Jodi Rell’s and state school officials’ decision to shutter J.M. Wright Technical School in Stamford to help cut the budget. Legislative Democrats had wanted to keep the school open, but the 2009 budget battle dragged on too long and the decision was made prior to the start of the 2009/2010 school year to close.
That closure occurred in the final months of Malloy’s last term as mayor of Stamford.
A committee formed by the state to revitalize the school presented a plan to begin classes in 2014 following a renovation, with the first round of funds needed this fall.
It remains unclear what the Malloy administration’s plans are for Wright Tech, although the governor while on the campaign trail said it would be a priority if elected.
“It was wrong of the governor (Rell) to shut the school down, especially when the Legislature had already authorized its funding,” Malloy said.
There are three other vocational technical high schools in our Hearst media empire – one in Bridgeport, one in Milford and one in Danbury.