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Statement from Executive Director Lisa Hammersley on Education Funding in the Appropriations Committee’s Proposed Budget

Lisa Hammersley, School + State Finance Project

April 21, 2021 - 2 minutes

We appreciate the hard work of the members of the Appropriations Committee in putting together the Committee’s budget proposal, and we want to specifically thank Representative Toni Walker and Senator Cathy Osten for their leadership during this unprecedented legislative session.

The Appropriations Committee’s proposed budget takes steps toward equitable education funding by providing greater resources for English Learners and districts with concentrated poverty, continuing the phase-in of the Education Cost Sharing (ECS) formula, and increasing funding levels for students attending public schools of choice such as Vo-Ag schools and charter schools.

We applaud the Appropriations Committee for taking these steps and for remembering Connecticut’s students during this difficult budget process and building toward an equitable education finance system.

Unfortunately, even these positive steps do not amount to the leaps Connecticut must take in order to equitably fund all public school students, eliminate the state’s $639 million racial funding gap, and finally ensure all students receive the resources they need and deserve.

While more work remains, we are incredibly thankful and appreciative that the Committee has demonstrated its commitment to making these leaps forward by passing legislation that would require the General Assembly’s Office of Fiscal Analysis to study the student-centered funding system we developed, modeled, and advocated for over the past year.

As both the Education and Appropriations Committees heard last month from the hundreds of community members, superintendents, town leaders, teachers, parents, students, and faith leaders who testified in strong support of a student-centered funding system, now is the time for bold action, and to finally provide the fair and equitable education funding so many of Connecticut’s students have been denied for so long.

As the Appropriations Committee’s proposed budget makes its way through the legislative process and budget negotiations, we urge legislative leadership and members of the General Assembly to maintain the progress recommended by the Appropriations Committee and build on their steps forward by passing a budget that invests in Connecticut’s students by fully funding the ECS formula and provides student-centered, need-based funding to all public school students.

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