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CT Mirror: Advocates: Proposed budget would hit CT students of color hardest

 -  Jessika Harkay, CT Mirror


That’s the word that various education stakeholders used while describing Gov. Ned Lamont’s proposed budget, which was released on Feb. 7.

Last year, lawmakers included $150 million for K-12 education financing reforms in the preliminary $26 billion budget adopted for the 2024-25 fiscal year, but Lamont’s new budget proposes to nick that promise by about $48 million and reroute some of those funds to early childhood education.

But who will receive the brunt of those cuts, if the legislature approves them? Probably students of color and the districts that traditionally teach the majority of them, education stakeholders said.


The cut to magnet schools is particularly damaging, not just to the schools and students themselves but the local districts that are responsible for picking up the tuition tab, said Michael Morton from the School and State Finance Project.

“When we talk about the [budget change], not only is it not funding magnet school students based on their needs — which is something that we’ve always pushed for — but what it also is doing is removing the cap on tuition” that school districts are required to pay, Morton said.

Last year, the General Assembly approved a measure that said local districts that are sending students to these choice schools would be responsible for up to 58% of the tuition cost and the state would pick up the rest.

The tuition cap, supposed to go into effect for the 2024-25 school year, could save districts millions of dollars.

The cap would have kept more money in local districts. But “by removing that cap … you’re now putting the onus back on the local school districts, you’re now taking away resources for their students, and you’re continuing their perpetual cycle of conflict between different public schools,” Morton said. “The impact of where the dollars are going to be felt the most is in school districts that are historically underfunded and historically serving Black and brown students.”