Matthew M. Corey

Candidate Name:   Matthew M. Corey

Office Sought:  Congress 1st District

Party:    Republican

Home Address:  181 Center Street, Manchester

Best Phone number for contact:  860-573-9777

Preferred email for contact:

Past and/or current elective office:  ­­­­­­­­­­­­­­

Occupation:   Self-employed

 

  1. Why are you running for elected office and what are your three top priorities for education once elected?

School choice

Voucher system — Money should follow the child.

Eliminate the Federal Department of Education and return power back to the states and local governments.

Block grants back to the states

  1. Do you believe that the public education system in America is broken and in need of reform? Do you believe that the public education system in West Hartford is broken or in need of reform?

I believe all programs need reform.  Input should be taken from the student/parent/teacher.  I do know the burdens of society are left at the teacher’s doorstep.  Bigger issues outside the school system also need to be addressed.

  1. ECS Funding

The state of Connecticut provides funding to towns through the ECS grant (Education Cost Sharing) to help towns deal with poverty.  For years, some towns such as West Hartford, have been receiving far less than they should and some have been receiving more.  By some estimates, West Hartford is the most underfunded town in the state, receiving approximately 30 million dollars per year less than we should.

A recently compiled list of the most underfunded and overfunded towns in the state shows West Hartford as 67% underfunded.  Only two other towns are more underfunded percentage-wise .  In terms of dollars, West Hartford is shorted $36,876,796.00 (per year.)  The list of towns is included in this mailing and can be found at this URL:

https://assets.documentcloud.org/documents/1680159/lprac-ecsoverfunding-2014to2015.pdf

The ECS issue received a lot of attention in April of 2015 at the capitol when Senator Bye proposed a bill (SB 816) that would require that towns receive at least half of what they are supposed to be receiving.  Although the bill did not pass, Senator Bye was able to secure a few million more dollars for West Hartford.  With an annual Board of Education budget of around 140 million dollars, this was a significant step in the right direction.

Most recently, on September 7th of this year, the verdict in the CCJEF vs. Rell case was rendered.  Superior court judge Thomas Moukawsher called for sweeping changes in the way education is funded in this state.  He also called for a linkage between student test scores and teacher salary, and for changes in teacher and administrator evaluation.  He also made reference to West Hartford as being one of the “rich towns” that is receiving more than it is due.

If you are seeking a state office representing West Hartford, how would you move forward into such an uncertain and dramatic educational/political environment:

What would be your priority or first steps in dealing with this issue?

How would you deal with the misperception that West Hartford is a “wealthy” town?  How would you help people like Judge Moukawsher understand that the image projected by Blue Back Square does not match the reality found in our student population (20% and steadily rising on free and reduced lunch, 12% students  with disabilities, high numbers of English language learners) and in old school buildings (many over 50 years old)?

  1. Charter Schools

Regarding charter schools in general, there are obviously a lot of differences of opinion.  Some praise the fact that they provide motivated students and families a way out of school systems that are low performing.  Others are concerned that the selection process that charter schools use to accept students leads to a “brain drain” on the public schools, further segregation, and invalid comparisons between charters and public schools.  Some are concerned about the qualifications of charter school leaders and the ability to closely track any money that flows from the state to these organizations.  What insights about the charter school movement would you bring to the table as an elective office holder?

Accountability must be made public.  Public school systems should not be compared to charter if the public school system is caring for the most vulnerable.

  1. Charter School Funding

What is your position on charter school funding?   Do you feel that the number of charter schools in the state should increase, decrease, or stay the same?

I wouldn’t advocate for more schools until we fix the schools that are closing.

  1. Money Follows the Child

State and local Charter schools in Connecticut clearly have a unique role to play.  First conceived as laboratories for reform, there have been lessons learned.  The most current research shows that Connecticut state charter school performance is generally parallel to that of all public schools — some are successful and some need improvement.  However, since state charter schools continue to be selective in their student populations and spend significantly more per pupil than regular public schools, investment in strong neighborhood public schools that serve all children should be the ultimate goal.

In recent years there have been legislative proposals by advocates of wholesale state charter school expansion to implement a new school funding scheme that would divert money from local neighborhood schools to state charter schools.  One such scheme is referred to as “money follows the child.”  In 2012, for example, there was a proposal to divert $1,000 for every child who attended a state charter school from the local education budget to the state charter budget.  This proposal was soundly defeated, as municipalities, particularly those with the tightest budgets, were unwilling to lose dollars from their already underfunded education budgets.

Proposals such as “money follows the child” would redirect local tax dollars outside the district and thus risk doing irreversible harm to students in classrooms already starved for adequate resources.  Proposals which exacerbate already inequitable funding simply run contrary to the state’s obligation to equalize education funding based on each town’s ability to pay.

WHEA Position:

WHEA opposes proposals that promote so-called “money follows the child” schemes designed to redistribute funding from local neighborhood schools and school districts to state charter schools.

What is your position?

  1. Collective Bargaining

The right to be a union member is a fundamental employee protection under state and federal laws.  America’s labor unions have led the fight for working families, winning protections such as the 8-hour day and the 40-hour week, overtime rights, and access to healthcare and retirement security.  Today, the fight continues both to retain these vital rights, and to ensure safe and healthy workplaces.  For teachers, collective bargaining allows their voices, ideas, and advocacy for students to be heard without fear of reprisal.

WHEA Position:

WHEA opposes proposals to weaken or eliminate collective bargaining rights for teachers and all other public employees.  WHEA also opposes any unilateral moves by any elected officials attempting to infringe on teachers’ rights as bargained.

Will you as an elected official, support the right of public employees to collectively bargain?  Will you support all negotiated agreements and arbitration decisions?  Will you protect the funds that teachers have contributed to Connecticut’s teacher retirement fund and oppose any efforts to move that money into a general state fund?

I support union rights.  Retirement funds should not be transferred to the general fund.

  1. Please share with us any other issues or positions that you think may be relevant or of interest to the WHEA.

I would close the Federal Department of Education and advocate sending block grants back to the states.