On Tuesday, February 9, 2021, The Connecticut Patch published a statement from our executive director about the proposed changes to Connecticut’s K-12 public education funding.
Press release from ConnCAN:
Yesterday, Governor Ned Lamont proposed a biennial budget for FY 2022 and 2023, including several proposed changes to Connecticut’s K-12 public education funding. In response to the budget and its education funding proposals, Subira Gordon, Executive Director of the Connecticut Coalition for Achievement Now (ConnCAN) stated:
“Connecticut’s education system has long been inequitable, with a $640M racial funding gap that negatively impacts students of color on a daily basis. Governor Ned Lamont’s proposed biennial budget uses one-time federal emergency dollars, already purposed for districts. While this temporary $400M increase over the biennium is welcome news for struggling districts, it does not replace the need for structural changes for how we send resources to high-need students.”
What happens after the federal money runs out? Districts will have to either fill the hole themselves or more likely, cut necessary services implemented to shrink our gaping opportunity gap. And, by not making good on a planned ECS phase-in, the proposed budget sets a bad precedent for future budgets.
Other aspects of the Governor’s proposed budget are steps in the right direction. State charter schools, that overwhelmingly serve black and brown students, received a per-pupil increase of $275. This now funds charter school students at the foundation amount, essentially the minimum wage for what Connecticut has determined it takes to educate a child. These are important and necessary steps towards a fully equitable system, and we must not tire in our pursuit of that goal. When racial funding gaps persist, children of color are left behind. This holds back our children, our state, and our society. Let’s close the racial funding gap once and for all.
In the 2022-2023 biennial proposed budget, Governor Lamont made the following investments in education:
- $400M over two years, leveraging one-time federal funds earmarked for emergency purposes;
- A $275 per-pupil increase for students attending state charter schools, totaling $2.9M per year in increased support
- A $1.175M investment over the biennium for 100 students participating in an open choice pilot program in Norwalk and Danbury
Gordon stated: “To fully actualize equity in education funding we must do more, and we must do it with sustainability in mind.”
ConnCAN believes Connecticut must:
- Fund all public schools through the need-based Education Cost Sharing formula;
- Accelerate Connecticut’s ECS phase-in in response to COVID-19’s deep impact on academic progress; and
- Increase English Language Learner weight from 15% to 25%, increase the concentrated poverty weight from 5% to 15% and lower the Concentrated Poverty threshold from 75% to 60%
Gordon added: “I encourage the governor and legislature to double down on sustainable investments in children and education. Students and families in Connecticut are hurting right now, but they were also hurting before the pandemic even began. State, local and federal resources can be aligned to address immediate concerns, and their long-term implications.”
ConnCAN stands ready to work with communities across the state, legislators, and the Governor to ensure that we’re properly investing in the potential of our students. We know our children are capable of anything when given a fair shot. Let’s tell them we’ve got their backs, and watch them flourish.”
This press release was produced by ConnCAN. The views expressed here are the author’s own.