Governor Dannel P. Malloy today introduced his FY 2018 budget, including several major proposed changes to how the State of Connecticut funds K-12 public education. Reacting to the budget and education funding proposals, Jennifer Alexander, CEO of the Connecticut Coalition for Achievement Now (ConnCAN) offered the following statement:
We applaud Governor Malloy for taking long-overdue steps to replace our broken system of funding public education and for his willingness to tackle this issue of fundamental fairness for our state’s children, rather than wait for the courts to decide the matter.
We are encouraged by some elements of this proposal that are intended to direct additional resources to students with the greatest learning needs. We also appreciate that the Governor’s budget proposal attempts to help reduce funding equity gaps for public charters schools and allows these schools to continue serving students from our most vulnerable communities. We thank the Governor both for his leadership and his continued commitment to making great schools accessible to every child, regardless of race, zip code or family income.
However, this proposal falls short of the comprehensive fix that is needed to set all our students and our state up for success. By leaving public schools of choice out of the formula, this proposal unfortunately continues to treat public school students differently based on the type of public school they attend, not on their learning needs. This would perpetuate the tangled web of funding for our public schools and leave Connecticut out of sync with other states. We hope that the Governor and General Assembly will work towards a truly comprehensive fix that treats students across all public schools fairly and consistently.
As a cautionary note, while we understand that Connecticut’s distressed municipalities want and need greater flexibility in how they best deploy scarce resources, we are concerned that the proposed flexibility around the Minimum Budget Requirement could eventually lead some cities and towns to redirect education dollars away from the classroom.
History tells us that the opportunity to enact a new education funding formula happens once every 25 years, at best. Our state leaders must take this rare opportunity to get this right and set all our students, schools and state up for success.
We look forward to continuing to work with Governor Malloy and the General Assembly to adopt, this legislative session, the fair, predictable and sustainable school funding formula Connecticut needs to ensure that all of our kids receive a great public education.
Read the full budget report here