Advocates Welcome Call for Equitable School Funding
HARTFORD, Conn. – Education advocates are applauding Gov. Dannel Malloy's call for school funding that is fair, transparent, accountable and adaptable.
In his State of the State address on Wednesday, Malloy challenged the General Assembly to act to guarantee "equal access to a quality education regardless of zip code."
Michael Morton, communications manager for the Connecticut School Finance Project, notes that for years now, the state has failed to deal with persistent inequities in its funding for public schools.
"It will certainly be no easy task to accomplish that and get that passed through the General Assembly,” he says. “But hopefully we'll be able to come out with a formula that works for all students and all communities."
Last September, a Superior Court judge ordered the state to resolve inequities in the school funding system. The state is appealing that ruling.
According to Morton, the most important feature of a fair school finance formula will be the weights assigned to both local community assets and student populations.
"There are some communities that have high property wealth who also serve very high populations of low income students and students with significant learning needs,” he explains. “And all of that needs to be accounted for in a system."
Morton adds that recent budget cuts as well as looming state deficits make creating a formula that is responsive to student needs and changing communities even more critical.
Morton says the Connecticut School Finance Project is hoping to work with policy makers, providing them with the resources and information they need to create a system that works.
"Hopefully by June we will have a new school finance system that is equitable, transparent and based on the needs of the students and communities it serves," he states.