The Connecticut Coalition for Justice in Education Funding [CCJEF] is paying close attention to three key policy issues before the General Assembly that will dramatically impact state support for K-12 public education. These three issues are (1) education funding in the state budget for the new biennium; (2) a new mandate that towns and cities pay for some of the costs of teacher retirement; and (3) establishing a new task force to study the Education Cost Sharing [ECS] formula. .
Election Day on November 6 is more than a battle of political parties for gubernatorial and legislative control. It’s an opportunity for new leaders to finally put Connecticut on the path to education justice. In January of this year, a deeply divided Connecticut Supreme Court ruled 4-3 in CT Coalition for Justice in Education Funding [CCJEF] v. Rell that the State was meeting its constitutional responsibility to provide a “minimally adequate” and equitable educational opportunity to our public school students. In the face of such callous judicial indifference to the plight of struggling poor, minority, non-English speaking and other high-need students, CCJEF looks to a new governor and the 2019 General Assembly for justice.
Connecticut’s shame is to continue to tolerate some of the most economically and racially segregated school districts in the nation.
Connecticut’s shame is to continue to tolerate one of the largest student achievement gaps in the nation.
An Education Adequacy Cost Study would ensure that the resource needs of all school districts – successful, struggling, and those in between – as well as the resources needed by regular and at-risk students are identified and quantified. It would then be up to policymakers and stakeholders to put these resource needs in fiscal context, determine a state and local share, and rationally develop an education funding formula and system that is based on actual student needs.
Despite all the fiscal and other challenges paralyzing Connecticut, there is an opportunity in the 2017 legislative session to take the first real step toward comprehensive, rational and constitutional education funding reform. That first step is authorizing an education adequacy cost study be conducted in our state as called for in Substitute House Bill 7270.