Wilton state aid for education takes another hit

First Selectman Lynne Vanderslice's office was notified Thursday, Dec. 29,  that Wilton’s Education Cost Sharing Grant was being reduced by about 30% to $462,941 for fiscal year 2017. This is a reduction of $202,441 from what was contained in the state budget passed in May. That number — $665,382 — was a big cut from nearly $1.5 million for Wilton in the state’s fiscal year 2016 budget.

Wilton’s loss was just a small part of $50 million in mid-year cuts announced by Gov. Dannel Malloy’s budget office that includes $20 million in cuts to municipalities and $30 million from grants for local construction projects.

A letter to several state legislative leaders from the state’s Office of Policy and Management indicated the reductions will be applied to the January 2017 and April 2017 ECS payments.

“These reductions will be made in a needs-directed manner, whereby the ECS grant is reduced between 25% and 90% for the 25 wealthiest communities, and the 68 poorest communities in the state will lose only 1% or less of their ECS grant,” the letter said.

The cuts also include a “circuit breaker” for 48 distressed municipalities which limits the cut to $250,000 or 2% of aid.

For comparison, Greenwich’s ECS grant was cut by just over 90%, from $1.4 million to $136,859 — the largest cut in the state. Neighboring New Canaan was cut by 50% from $678,845 to $339,590, and Ridgefield was cut 29% from 805,748 to 571,648.