Construction on the new Sandy Hook Elementary School is going so well, both on schedule and more importantly under budget, Gov. Dannel Malloy says a $2.3 million payment for construction is unnecessary, so he included it in more than $350 million worth of bond payment cuts.
The school has been under construction since 2014 and sits on the site of the former Sandy Hook Elementary School, the site of the shooting deaths of 26 students and staff at the school in 2012.
Gov. Malloy says the public should not misconstrue the payment cut as any kind of slight to the school or to Newtown.
"Give me a break," Gov. Malloy said during a news conference Wednesday.
He says his administration has been in touch with the town every step of the way and has been kept abreast of the school's progress.
“We were in contact before this became a public issue because we wanted to make sure that in point of fact this was the appropriate thing to do."
The project was approved at a cost of $50 million and is scheduled to be open before school starts at the end of the summer. The building is considered to be a state of the art facility.
Sen. Tony Hwang, (R - Fairfield), who represents Newtown, says the state should continue with the payments because that was part of the deal.
"We're literally putting the cart before the horse," Hwang said.
“This project is not complete and until its completed we want to be sure that the money is there to ensure proper compliance and proper construction completion so it really was a frustrating exercise.”
Pat Llodra, Newtown's First Selectman said the decision by the governor was not a surprise, and said she's been assured that if there are any unexpected cost issues, that the state will address them.
"I am confident that the state decision-makers will work with local officials to make the final steps proceed with the same integrity as has been in place throughout. The governor, state leadership, legislators, and all Ct taxpayers have treated us honorably and with sacrifice on their parts, too."
Gov. Malloy said as a matter of fiscal responsibility, taxpayers should be happy with the decision. The school will be done on time, and it won't cost them anything extra, he said.
"When the cost of completion is less than the initial expectation, we shouldn’t be spending that money," he said.