From the tragic loss of more than 4,300 of our neighbors, to the economic insecurity felt by hundreds of thousands of Connecticut residents, the COVID-19 pandemic has caused heartache, stress, and anxiety across all four corners of our state. To put it simply, the pandemic has altered our “normal.” But among the severe changes and disruptions it has caused, the pandemic has, sadly, not altered the long-standing, painful inequity that continues to be part of Connecticut’s “normal.” In fact, the pandemic has only made the state’s inequity worse, particularly when it comes to education.
Nearly three years ago, the Connecticut General Assembly took a positive — and bipartisan — step forward for fairly funding our state’s local public schools by passing a more equitable and transparent Education Cost Sharing (ECS) formula.
Roughly a year and a half ago, the Connecticut General Assembly passed a bipartisan state budget that contained a new Education Cost Sharing formula to distribute approximately $2 billion annually in state education funding to local public school districts. The passage of a new ECS formula not only ended the years-long trend of allocating state education aid to local districts via block grants driven by political power and historical precedent, it ushered in a more equitable, logical, and transparent way of funding our state’s local public schools.
The bill [to rescue the Medicare Savings Program] before the General Assembly on Monday is a far cry from fiscal responsibility. Despite a growing deficit, and a projected deficit for fiscal year 2019, based on the plan expected to be put before the legislature, the General Assembly appears content to avoid making tough decisions about how to deal with the $224 million deficit gorilla in the Capitol and instead has decided to just keep feeding it.
Between shrinking revenues from taxes, the continued growth of fixed costs (including long-term pension and debt obligations), and declining bond ratings, Connecticut faces a multitude of fiscal challenges that could pose problems to the state’s financial and economic health for decades if not addressed. However, to properly address these challenges we must first understand them and know what problems our state must solve. This starts with understanding the data. …[This is] what led us to develop, and officially launch this week, a new, interactive website (www.ctstatefinance.org) devoted to providing an in-depth, yet easy-to-understand, look into many of the fiscal challenges that Connecticut faces.
TYhe House Democrats’ proposed school funding plan is not a legitimate attempt at a logical or responsible school funding formula. It falls far short of creating the “rational, substantial and verifiable” school finance system that Superior Court Judge Thomas Moukawsher called for in his September 2016 ruling in CCJEF v. Rell.
For more than two centuries, Connecticut has been colloquially known as “The Land of Steady Habits.” But our state’s tradition of arbitrarily, illogically, and inequitably funding its public schools is a bad habit Connecticut desperately needs to break. Unfortunately, Gov. Dannel Malloy’s recent budget proposal does not go far enough to address the fundamental flaws […]
Every student who walks through the doors each morning at one of Connecticut’s more than 1,300 public schools has their own unique skills and abilities, as well as their own needs and challenges. But despite their differences, each of these students has something in common: the right to a quality, equitably funded education. For Connecticut’s more than 74,500 students who need some type of special education service, this right is particularly important.
In his decision on Wednesday in Connecticut Coalition for Justice in Education Funding (CCJEF) v. Rell, Connecticut Superior Court Judge Thomas Moukawsher made a lengthy, wide-ranging ruling on education and equity in our state. At the heart of Judge Moukawsher’s historic ruling is the affirmation of what educators, parents, students, and community leaders have been saying for nearly four decades—Connecticut’s school finance system is irrational, inequitable, and illogical. We can now add unconstitutional to that list.
Connecticut’s low-income students need and deserve an equitable school finance system that recognizes, and takes into account, the variety of challenges they may face that can impact their educational success. However, in order to distribute education resources fairly, Connecticut must transition to a new method of accurately identifying low-income students.
Three weeks ago, in his sixth State of the State Address, Gov. Dannel Malloy laid out his five “budget principles” and called for a “more predictable, more sustainable, and more transparent” Connecticut budget that “prioritizes funding for core services.” Rightfully, one of the core services Malloy listed was public education. However, for Connecticut to prioritize education and achieve the governor’s budgetary goals, the state must fundamentally change the way it funds its public schools.