One State, One Future

Reimagining School Finance in Connecticut

August 2016

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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.

Current Connecticut funding formulas

The current method of distributing funding based on school type does not support a public education system that is equitable and particularly damages our students with the greatest needs. Additionally, we need a formula that starts from a foundation amount that is adequate.

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.


  • 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.

About the Teacher Action 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