FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
CONTACT: STEPHEN SIDORAK, (860) 933-8100
Hartford, Conn.—Today, the General Assembly’s Appropriations Committee passed its proposed budget for the 2021-2023 biennium. HB 6439 contains essential education funding changes sought by the Education Justice Now campaign, of which ConnCAN is a core member.
The proposed budget:
- reverses the Governor’s proposed freeze to the ECS phase-in;
- increases ECS funding for English Language Learners (ELL) and concentrated poverty, sending much-needed resources to Connecticut’s highest-need traditional school districts, totaling an additional $4.7 million in FY2022 and $9.4 million in FY2023;
- allocates over $7 million to increase the per-pupil spending for charter schools, which serve primarily Black and brown students from low-income backgrounds, to the statutory foundation amount of $11,575;
- allocates $1.2 million in additional support for charter schools with English Language Learners;
- provides funding of $3.7 million in both FY2022 and FY2023 for vocational-agricultural schools; and
- lays the groundwork for OFA to study and report on long-term, structural funding reform for Connecticut public schools by January 2022.
These changes amount to an immediate $48.5 million increase, and $110 million over the biennium, in state dollars for public education, compared to the Governor’s proposed budget. When combined with federal funding, Connecticut students stand to receive an unparalleled investment in their futures.
ConnCAN Executive Director Subira Gordon said: “ConnCAN has been at the center of this policy work, by working with legislators and advocating for SB948 An Act Addressing Education Funding and Racial Equity in Connecticut. Today’s Appropriations Committee budget is a great first step in building a more just and equitable education funding system. It’s taken years to create our current inequitable system, and while it may take time, we’re going to restructure how Connecticut funds education. The budget starts us down that path, and we’ve got to keep pushing for all students.”
Gordon added: “The state’s public charter schools, which serve more than eleven thousand students, most of whom are low-income students of color, will see their largest funding increase in over a decade. With this budget, Connecticut has taken a major step toward funding all public school students equitably and based on their needs.”
“The Appropriation Committee’s proposed budget marks a historic step towards equity for all public school students, particularly those attending public charter schools. We would like to thank the Appropriations Committee for enhancing funding for charter schools, the largest funding enhancement our schools have seen in the last 10 years. Our community will continue to push for our state’s leaders to fully adopt these proposals until the last day of session and beyond for a comprehensive, long-term solution for education funding,” said Ruben Felipe, Executive Director of the Connecticut Charter Schools Association.
Working with FaithActs for Education, the School + State Finance Project, Connecticut Charter Schools Association and Educators 4 Excellence – CT, the Education Justice Now coalition has mobilized thousands of community members across the state to advocate for long-term solutions to Connecticut’s inequitable education funding system. The legislature’s proposed budget contains many of these much-needed solutions aimed directly at addressing Connecticut’s $639M racial funding gap.
The Education Justice Now coalition is continuing its fight for a comprehensive, long-term solution for education funding.
“While today’s proposed budget marks significant progress in the fight for equitable education funding for all students, much more work is needed in order to eliminate Connecticut’s $639 million racial funding gap,” said Lisa Hammersley, Executive Director of the School and State Finance Project. “We sincerely appreciate the work of the Appropriations Committee and look forward to continuing the conversation about the need to fully fund Connecticut’s students as budget negotiations progress.”
“This budget is a great first step in addressing the racial funding gap in our schools. But until we fully fund the ECS formula and prioritize funding for all public schools serving ELL and high poverty students, vulnerable students will still be denied an equitable education in our state.” said Daniel Pearson, State Director of Educators for Excellence-Connecticut. “E4E-Connecticut teachers will continue to advocate and work with legislators until all students and teachers have the resources they need to thrive.”
Gordon added: “The budget vote starts a much-needed conversation, but there is still more work to be done. ConnCAN is committed to continuing to fight for a student-centered formula.”
More information about how Connecticut funds education and the need for a student-centered system can be found here: https://linktr.ee/studentcenteredfunding
About ConnCAN: ConnCAN is leading a movement to improve education outcomes for Connecticut’s kids. We bring advocates, policymakers, parents and educators together to change the system and give all kids access to the great public schools they deserve. Learn more at conncan.org.