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CT Mirror: Public weighs in on bill that would speed up school funding

Jessika Harkay, CT Mirror

February 03, 2023 - 2 minutes

Nearly 200 community members were scheduled to testify before lawmakers Friday, taking advantage of the first chance to comment on a bill that could change how Connecticut school districts are funded.

The hearing on House Bill 5003, which proposes a change in funding for magnet schools, charter schools and regional agricultural science and technology education centers and would change the state’s Education Cost Sharing model, was expected to last well into the evening.

“We need to maintain this funding, because a one-time payment does not make structural change,” said Speaker of the House, Rep. Matt Ritter. “Structural change will come from year over year, decade over decade, of equitable funding.”

In 2017, the state of Connecticut approved a bipartisan plan to bolster the ECS program and its distribution of around $2 billion in education funding to districts through a phase-in process over the course of 10 years. Implementation was delayed for two years.

HB-5003 proposes another acceleration of payments of $275 million by 2025 (instead of by 2028), to help better equip school districts for when COVID-19 relief funds expire. The money would be directed to districts where more students come from low-income families and where districts can’t afford to help pay for the extra support these students would need.

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