State municipal aid is cut by $33.9 million this fiscal year and by an additional $1.8 million in the fiscal year that begins July 1 – a 1.3 percent cut in state support, the legislature’s non-partisan fiscal office reports.
With more than three-quarters of overall state municipal aid currently going to the state’s primary education grant — the Education Cost Sharing (ECS) grant — it should be no surprise that it took the brunt of that cut this year. Various non-education grants will be cut next year to make up for restoring ECS funding in 2019.
The way the state funds education has faced increased scrutiny in the year since a Superior Court judge ruled it irrational and unconstitutional. Gov. Dannel P. Malloy later called for a massive redistribution of existing state funding to benefit the most impoverished districts.
The budget negotiated by Republican and Democratic legislative leaders – and expected to be adopted this week by the General Assembly – would cut ECS grants by $31.4 million this fiscal year.
The state’s 30 lowest-performing districts would be shielded from any cuts this year, and each of the remaining 139 towns are cut by 5 percent. In dollars, this means Enfield, Stratford, Wallingford, West Hartford and Southington stand to lose the most with their cuts ranging from $1 million to $1.4 million.
In the following fiscal year, however, $30.9 million in ECS funding would be restored and a new formula used to direct more of that money to towns that have higher concentrations of students from low-income families and less ability to raise enough local tax money to pay for their public schools.
Of the $30.9 million in restored funding, just over half — $16.3 million — would go to the state’s 30 lowest-performing school districts and the remainder will be distributed to other communities. Currently 66 percent of overall ECS aid goes to these low-performing districts, and under this new plan, that will rise to 69 percent by fiscal 2019, but that’s largely because of the cuts the other districts will incur this fiscal year.
When the first-year cuts and second-year funding increases are taken into account, no town’s ECS grant stands to be cut more than $900,000 below what it received last fiscal year, and four cities stand to gain more than $1 million.
Here is a rundown of overall state aid, broken down town by town and grant by grant.
Correction: A previous version of this story had the wrong grant amounts for each community for the Adult Education chart because of a formatting issue.