A funding patchwork

As magnet schools sprouted across the state following the court order to desegregate schools in Hartford, so did a patchwork of financial formulas designed to pay for them. The state also has developed formulas to pay for charter schools and suburban school choice programs, two other strategies for promoting school integration. Here are the latest formulas:

  • In magnet schools operated by the City of Hartford, the state pays Hartford a $12,000 stipend for each suburban student but no magnet subsidy for city residents.
  • The state pays twice for many magnet students. In addition to paying a per student subsidy to magnet schools, the state also continues to count those students in the formula for aid to their hometowns even though they no longer attend local schools. Thus, a student from Farmington attending a Hartford magnet school still counts for $386 in state aid to Farmington. Similarly, a Hartford magnet student from the less affluent town of New Britain counts for $6,733 in New Britain’s state subsidy.
  • For magnet schools operated by the Capitol Region Education Council, a greater Hartford regional agency, the state pays $9,695 per student, but regional agencies in other parts of the state not subject to the Sheff ruling get $7,620 per student. Regional agencies also can charge tuition to local school districts that send students to regional magnets. In the CREC region, that tuition ranges from $2,517 to $4,950 per student.
  • School districts such as New Haven that operate magnets not subject to the Sheff ruling get a $6,720 state magnet subsidy for each non-resident student plus a $3,000 subsidy for each resident.
  • The state pays $1,400 apiece annually for busing students to magnet schools subject to the Sheff ruling but $1,300 per student for other magnets. Officials say those amounts fall far short of actual transportation costs.
  • While most magnets outside the Sheff region received no funding increase this year, two magnets – one in Hamden, another in Meriden – received extra money under separate arrangements approved by the legislature.
  • Charter schools receive $9,300 per student from the state but are not required to pay for special education or transportation. Those costs are paid by the school districts in which the charters are located.
  • Suburban schools that enroll children from Hartford, Bridgeport and New Haven under the Open Choice program receive state grants of $2,500 per student.