In 2021 we worked to address racial justice in education funding and help students recover from Covid.
One of our primary goals at ConnCAN is to create more equity in education funding. For years, our state had treated students differently depending on which school their families elected to attend, even if those schools were among the highest performing in the state.
Charter schools, magnet schools and vocational agricultural schools were all relegated to a separate way of funding that left students always needing more. For the last three years, ConnCAN worked with the legislature and partners to build a strong coalition of like-minded individuals who knew the system needed to be fixed. We built bridges, relationships and power at every step.
On February 8, we stood on the north steps of the Capitol and demanded more! We said enough is enough and we need Education Justice Now!
Working with FaithActs for Education, the School + State Finance Project, Connecticut Charter Schools Association and Educators 4 Excellence – CT, the Education Justice Now coalition mobilized thousands of community members across the state to advocate for long-term solutions to Connecticut’s inequitable education funding system. We had over 130 legislative meetings to identify the problems in our funding system, determine long-term solutions and build consensus on action.
After months of advocacy, the legislature’s final budget now contains many of these hard-fought and much-needed solutions aimed directly at Connecticut’s $639M racial funding gap.
Last night the legislature voted on a budget that:
Increases ECS funding overall, with increased planned phase-in, weights for English Language Learners (ELL) and concentrated poverty, sending much-needed resources to Connecticut’s highest-need traditional school districts: totaling an additional $45.6 million in FY2022 and $91.2 million in FY2023 compared to FY21 funding levels;
Allocates over $6 million more for charter schools in FY22 and an additional $4M in FY23 by increasing per-pupil funding, adding seats, and applying English Language Learner and concentrated poverty weights
Increases charter per-pupil spending to the statutory foundation amount of $11,575;
Provides additional funding of $3.7 million in both FY22 and FY23 for vocational-agricultural schools;
Lays the groundwork for the Office of Fiscal Analysis to study and report on long-term, structural funding reform for Connecticut public schools by January 2022.
These changes amount to a generational investment in education that provides students with the educators, resources and experiences necessary to be prepared for the road ahead.
But, we know that more must be done. While many of the reforms make significant changes to how Connecticut funds education, much of the $600M+ racial funding gap remains. At ConnCAN, we are committed to making structural changes that eliminate the racial funding gap forever.
This 2021 policy win sets ConnCAN up to continue making significant strides in the future.
While we still have work to do to achieve our goal, the progress made this year has set the stage for an exciting future for our kids.
ConnCAN will continue to work alongside members of the Education Justice Now coalition to achieve these ambitious goals.
More to come!