One State, One Future

Reimagining School Finance in Connecticut
August 2016

In the state of Connecticut, several factors intersect to create a system of public school funding that is not only failing, but also incredibly challenging to navigate and subsequently difficult to reform.

Connecticut funds its public schools through 11 cumbersome funding formulas that create a piecemeal system, lacking adequacy, equity and transparency.  Furthermore, the state is not adequately providing for unique student populations, such as students with special needs and English language learners. Only one formula—the Education Cost Sharing (ECS) formula—takes some of students’ needs into account. Yet this formula is neither fully funded nor used by the state legislature to allocate education aid to municipalities. As a result, funding is also not adapting to changing enrollment numbers. We ended the 2016 school year with a deficit of over $200 million and anticipated ongoing deficits in future fiscal years, which led the Connecticut State Department of Education to lower its budget by $108.6 million, or 3.5 percent, despite growing student need. This decline in state funding exacerbates existing problems with equity, transparency and accountability.

Issues at the state level trickle down to the district and school levels. Our highest-need districts create budgets without the proper supports and lack incentives to channel money to students who most need resources.

Recommendations:

  • Advance equity by establishing a single adequacy-based funding system and adjust the comprehensive funding formula for equity.

  • Prioritize student impact by providing accurately and sufficiently for student need and ensure state funding effectively serves kids.

  • Support districts with fiscal accountability and transparency, including a single, uniform chart of accounts.

One State, One Future

Connecticut needs an equitable school funding system that puts all students first—add your name.

About the Teacher Policy Team

We are a group of 15 teachers who met for seven weeks to review research on national attempts to improve adequacy, equity, accountability and transparency in school finance.

Aida Berdiel-Batista
5th-8th-grade Special Education Teacher at Paul Laurence Dunbar School
Nate Deysher
11th-grade American Literature Teacher at Amistad High School
Kaitlin Dinet
7th-grade Science Teacher at Geraldine Johnson Elementary School
Daniel Duesing
7th- and 8th-grade Math and Science Teacher at Annie Fisher Montessori Magnet School
Stefani Gospodinova
4th-grade Teacher at Barnum School
Kevin Ith
AmeriCorps Tutor at Great Oaks Charter School
Jennifer Mancone
Middle School Language Transition Support Services Teacher at Hartford Magnet Trinity College Academy
Deszreen Mitchell
High School Math Teacher at New Haven Jobs Corps
Heidi Moeller
2nd-grade Teacher at Paul Laurence Dunbar School
Tiffany Moyer-Washington
9th-grade Honors Literature Teacher at Classical Magnet School
Margaret O’Connor
10th-grade Civics Teacher at Central High School
Patty Ovalles
Kindergarten Bilingual Teacher at Strong 21st Century Communications Magnet School and Laboratory
Alex Torres
10th-grade Science Teacher at Central High School
Erika Wright
10th-grade English Language Arts Teacher at Central High School
Kerry Zrenda
Interim Elementary Literacy Specialist at Kings Highway Elementary School