A big step forward for students in Connecticut
by Subira Gordon, 50CAN
April 21, 2021

Moments ago, our goal of equitable school funding in Connecticut moved one step closer to reality.

Today, the Connecticut General Assembly’s Appropriations Committee passed its proposed budget for the 2021-2022 biennium. HB 6439 contains essential education funding changes sought by the Education Justice Now campaign, of which ConnCAN is a core member.

The legislature’s budget sends more resources to Connecticut students and affirms the state’s commitment to an equitable, student-centered funding approach. Connecticut’s public charter schools, which serve more than eleven thousand students, most of whom are low-income students of color, will see their largest funding increase in over a decade.

We still have major work to do in order to close a $639 million racial funding gap. Learn more about the need for a student-centered funding system from our friends at School + State Finance Project: https://linktr.ee/studentcenteredfunding

The proposed budget:

  • Reverses the Governor’s proposed freeze to the Education Cost Sharing (ECS) phase-in;
  • Increases ECS funding for English Language Learners (ELL) and concentrated poverty, sending much-needed resources to Connecticut’s highest-need traditional school districts, totaling an additional $4.7 million in FY2022 and $9.4 million in FY2023;
  • Over $7 million to increase the per-pupil spending for charter schools, which serve primarily Black and brown students from low-income backgrounds, to the statutory foundation amount of $11,575;
  • Allocates $1.2 million in additional support for charter schools with English Language Learners;
  • Provides funding of $3.7 million in both FY2022 and FY2023 for vocational-agricultural schools; and
  • Lays the groundwork for OFA to study and report on long-term, structural funding reform for Connecticut public schools by January 2022.

These changes amount to an immediate $48.5 million increase, and $110 million over the biennium, in state dollars for public education compared to the Governor’s proposed budget. When combined with federal funding, Connecticut students stand to receive an unparalleled investment in their futures.

ConnCAN has been at the center of this policy work, by proposing and advocating for SB948 An Act Addressing Education Funding and Racial Equity in Connecticut. Today’s proposed budget is a great first step in building a more just and equitable education funding system. It’s taken years to create our current inequitable system, and while it may take time, we’re going to restructure how Connecticut funds education. The budget starts us down that path, and we’ve got to keep pushing for all students.

The state’s public charter schools, which serve more than ten thousand students and most of whom are low-income students of color, will see their largest funding increase in over a decade. With this budget, Connecticut has taken a major step toward funding all public school students equitably and based on their needs.

Working with FaithActs for Education, the School + State Finance Project, Connecticut Charter Schools Association and Educators 4 Excellence – CT, the Education Justice Now coalition has mobilized thousands of community members across the state to advocate for long-term solutions to Connecticut’s inequitable education funding system. The legislature’s proposed budget contains many of these much-needed solutions aimed directly at addressing Connecticut’s $639M million racial funding gap.

As ConnCAN continues in this effort, we’ll provide actionable data, honest insights and necessary connections between lawmakers and their constituencies to usher in a new era of equitable funding for all Connecticut students.

More information about how Connecticut funds education and the need for a student-centered system can be found here:  https://linktr.ee/studentcenteredfunding

Tags: ConnCAN | Wins
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