April 21, 2021

Educators for Excellence-Connecticut Reacts to Appropriations Committee Budget

Educators for Excellence-Connecticut (E4E-CT), a teacher-led organization, today commended the Appropriations Committee Chairs, Senator Cathy Osten and Representative Toni Walker, and all committee members who voted for including parts of SB 948, an act addressing education funding and racial equity in Connecticut, in the proposed budget. These measures would direct additional funding to schools serving English language learners and high concentrations of students from low-income households.

“As an educator who teaches diverse student populations, I welcome the news that legislators are advocating to direct more dollars to the students who most need it,” said Educators for Excellence-CT member Claudia Tenaglia, a middle school teacher at Hartford Public Schools. “Our students deserve better. Additional funding can help reduce class sizes, increase students’ access to technology, and provide the social-emotional supports they really need right now, especially as we work to build back from the unfinished learning and trauma that the pandemic has wrought.”

“It’s heartening to see legislators prioritize funding for English language learner students and students living in poverty,” said Daniel Pearson, State Director of Educators for Excellence-CT. “We urge legislators to adopt these equitable funding reforms in the General Assembly, so that even after federal stimulus dollars run out, we have the funding in place to support vulnerable and historically underserved student populations.”

While the federal stimulus dollars included in the American Rescue Plan will temporarily shrink the existing education funding gaps, Connecticut’s funding inequity is systemic, caused by a school finance structure that is too reliant on local property taxes and inadequate state investment, and has led to a shameful under-funding of students of color in our state.

“Even with the inclusion of parts of SB 948 in the budget, the fact is that most Connecticut students won’t benefit from the increased funding for the foreseeable future, since it is slated to fully go into effect in 2028,” Pearson continued. “We look forward to continuing the work with Senator Osten, Representative Walker and all other legislators dedicated to ensuring that education is fully funded in Connecticut as soon as possible—for all students.”

Educators for Excellence-Connecticut has advocated for educational equity in Connecticut since 2015. Most recently, in partnership with the Education Justice Now campaign, E4E-CT has pushed to ensure that Connecticut’s school funding formula is more equitable, including through the changes laid out in SB 948. Throughout the legislative process, E4E educators provided policymakers an on-the-ground perspective through written testimony and meetings with legislators, to illustrate the consequences of the current funding gaps.

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