After the longest budget impasse in Connecticut history and in the midst of a financial crisis, the General Assembly has passed a budget for fiscal years 2018 and 2019. The budget includes steps towards a new education funding formula and creates a committee to study the issue further. The formula does not include all students across all types of public schools.
In response, Jennifer Alexander, CEO of ConnCAN (the Connecticut Coalition for Achievement Now), issued the following statement:
While we understand the financial uncertainty of our state and the complexity of fixing our education funding formula, we are disappointed that state leaders fell short of a real fix. We do not need another committee to examine the issue. We have seen many task forces and committees on this issue before and they only result in one outcome: no action. Instead of fixing Connecticut’s school funding problems, this budget perpetuates separate and unequal school systems across our state.
This budget discriminates against children who attend public schools of choice by shutting them out of the funding formula. Children with the same needs and same backgrounds will get different funding amounts — or no funding at all — for no reason other than the type of public school they attend. These politically driven decisions protect the status quo and send a clear signal that politicians view children who attend public charter schools as worth less than others.
This is profoundly unfair and unacceptable, particularly when public charter schools are delivering life-changing results for so many of our state’s most disadvantaged students. In a time of scarce public dollars, we need to invest in what works. For example, U.S. News and World Report ranked New Haven’s Amistad Academy as the top high school in Connecticut. Booker T. Washington Academy in New Haven is the highest-performing school in math statewide, achieving higher than our wealthiest suburbs. These are both public charter schools that serve a majority of students of color and students in poverty.
Now, more than ever, we need to invest in innovative, efficient solutions that will ensure our children are ready to succeed in college and the workforce and that Connecticut is a place where people want to live and work. Getting there requires real fixes, like funding students fairly at the schools that work for them.