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January 26, 2017

Leading Connecticut Education Organizations Agree To Design Principles For New School Funding Formula

New Haven, CT – A number of Connecticut’s leading education organizations -- the Connecticut Association of Boards of Education (CABE), the Connecticut Association of Public School Superintendents (CAPSS), the Connecticut Association of Schools (CAS), the Connecticut Coalition for Achievement Now (ConnCAN), and the Connecticut Council for Education Reform (CCER) have agreed to a set of design principles for the development of a new school funding formula that supports student learning.  These guiding principles were developed with Professor Ken Wong, of Brown University. 

“Superintendents see firsthand how our current unpredictable and inequitable funding system makes it difficult to ensure that our students and educators get the critical instructional resources they need,” said Connecticut Association of Public School Superintendents Executive Director Joseph J. Cirasuolo.  “These six guiding principles are an important roadmap to reform and to developing the fair, equitable, and predictable funding formula that Connecticut needs.”
As our state elected leaders prepare to address this issue during the 2017 legislative session, the organizations collectively urge that any new school funding formula proposal reflect these six core principles:
Equity: Student learning needs and enrollment should drive state and local funding.  Students at all public schools, including schools of choice, should receive equitable funding.  Low-income students, students who are English Learners, and students who require special education services, should be funded according to their learning needs.
Innovation: The formula should incentivize innovative and efficient practices in support of mastery-based personalized learning.
Coherence: A single funding formula for all school types should replace the current ECS grant and the various additional per-pupil funding methods.
Transparency: Schools and districts should be able to predict their annual funding from both state and local sources and funding levels should be grounded in verifiable and transparent data. The formula should be subject to periodic reviews of its effectiveness.
Fairness: Education funding is a shared state and local responsibility.  State aid for each community should be determined by a combination of factors, including multiple measures of property and income conditions, and concentration of low-income students.
Accountability: State and local education funds should be used wisely, mindful of broader fiscal constraints in Connecticut, and districts should be accountable for how they use their financial resources. Education expenditures should be transparent and regularly reported so that spending can be compared across schools and districts.
The joint document also lays out key elements to be considered in the development of a funding formula.
“Representing boards of education across the state, our members are deeply concerned about having the resources necessary to meet the needs of all students,” said Connecticut Association of Boards of Education Deputy Director and General Counsel Patrice McCarthy.  “We are pleased to sign onto these important principlesand look forward to working with our elected leaders to develop a new school funding formula for Connecticut.”
“We hear from our member principals and school administrators every year that our current school funding system is not predictable and is not taking into account the unique learning needs of too many students,” said Connecticut Association of Schools Executive Director Karissa Niehoff.  “We have an opportunity to change that by incorporating these six principles into a new funding formula that will improve education for all of Connecticut’s public schools and students.”
“Our state’s public education funding system is broken,” said Jennifer Alexander, ConnCAN CEO.  “There is no unified or predictable formula to ensure that funding resources are allocated based on student learning needs.  This reality was noted in Superior Court Judge Thomas Moukawasher’s recent decision in CCJEF v. Rell that our state lacks a ‘rational’ funding formula. That is why this diverse coalition of education organizations has come together to develop a set of broad principles that we urge the Governor and General Assembly to incorporate in the development of a new school funding formula for Connecticut.”
“Developing a fair, equitable, and predictable funding formula is an essential step towards closing achievement gaps and raising academic outcomes for all of our students,” said Connecticut Council for Education Reform Executive Director Jeffrey A. Villar.  “That is why these six guiding principles are so important for the development of a new school funding formula, one that predictably allocates resources to those communities and students in the greatest need.”

 A full copy of the “Design Principles for a New School Funding Formula in Connecticut” report is available for download. 

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About the Connecticut Association of Boards of Education
The Connecticut Association of Boards of Education serves local and regional boards of education in Connecticut and is dedicated to improving the quality of education throughout the state and the nation. CABE's membership includes 151 school districts representing 90% of the state's public school population. CABE is a leading advocate for public education at the state capitol and in Washington, DC, and offers many types of support services to local boards of education including the Board Member Academy, a continuing education program for local board of education members.
About the Connecticut Association of Public School Superintendents
The Connecticut Association of Public School Superintendents (CAPSS) is an organization that represents all of the superintendents and leaders of public schools in Connecticut. Our mission is to lead the continuous improvement of public education for all students by advocating public policy and developing and supporting executive school leaders. In short, it is committed to making sure schools in Connecticut are all they can be for our children.
About the Connecticut Association of Schools
The Connecticut Association of Schools (CAS) is a private, non‐profit organization whose purpose is to improve the learning of every student in Connecticut by contributing to the improvement of elementary and secondary education. CAS, through its divisions including the Connecticut Interscholastic Athletic Conference (CIAC), works to serve the collective interests and needs of Connecticut schools by providing leadership and professional development services to promote excellence in the education of all students.
About ConnCAN
Founded in 2004, New Haven-based ConnCAN is the state’s largest education advocacy organization. It brings advocates, policy makers, parents and educators together to change the system and give all kids access to great public schools. For more information about ConnCAN, go to our website at www.ConnCAN.org.
About the Connecticut Council for Education Reform
The Connecticut Council for Education Reform (CCER) is a statewide 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization that works to narrow the achievement gap and raise academic outcomes for all students in Connecticut. The achievement gap is the disparity in academic achievement between children from low-income families, children of color, and their peers. We advance our mission by: (1) partnering with Connecticut’s lowest­-performing districts (the “Alliance Districts”) to lift their management capacity so that they can better support teaching and learning; (2) advocating for state-­level policies designed to narrow gaps in achievement; and (3) increasing public awareness about the need for reform.


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