Malloy: Legislature’s school-funding proposals not aggressive enough

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Gov. Malloy works with a student in a school in Norwalk.

The plans released last week by Republicans and Democrats to overhaul how schools are funded are too tame, says Gov. Dannel P. Malloy.

Currently, two-third of the state’s primary education grant goes to the state’s 30 worst-performing districts. Malloy, a Democrat, proposed in February rerouting $231 million in state education aid to the state’s 30 worst performing school districts by eliminating or drastically cutting aid to better-off districts starting in the next school year.

Republicans and Democrats rejected that approach and instead released plans that would put the state on the path to funding the state’s Education Cost Sharing formula as it was intended. Currently, that grant is about $600 million underfunded.

Republicans proposed doing it over 10 years. The Democrats plan would take 30 years.

During an hour-long interview on Where We Live, a public affairs radio program produced by WNPR, Malloy said neither approach is aggressive enough.

“We are under-supporting about 30 school districts in this state that educate the vast majority of our black children, our brown children, our children in poverty, our children of parents who are not particularly well educated,” Malloy said. “We have a court decision that says our system is unfair. I’m trying to address it, and one of the ways to address that is to find the revenue necessary in this area to bring those school systems up to the standards that you or I would like our children to be educated in. There are competing priorities out there — one is to do that over 30 years and another is to do that over 10. I want to do it today.”

The last time the General Assembly passed legislation promising to phase in increases for the worst-performing districts, the legislature overrode that phase-in one year later.

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