Base Aid Ratio

The Base Aid Ratio is the variable in the ECS formula that determines each community’s ability to financially support its public schools. The Base Aid Ratio acts as an equity metric to distribute state education funding through the ECS formula, with the towns with the least ability to fund their public schools receiving the most state aid.

The Base Aid Ratio uses two elements to calculate a town’s ability to fund its public schools: a property wealth factor and an income wealth factor. The property wealth factor counts for 70% in determining a town’s Base Aid Ratio, while the income wealth factor counts for 30%. Below is a description of both factors.

Property Wealth Factor

  • Counts for 70% of a town’s Base Aid Ratio
  • Determined using a town’s Equalized Net Grand List per Capita (ENGLPC), compared to the state median town ENGLPC, as calculated annually by Connecticut’s Office of Policy and Management
  • ENGLPC is the amount of taxable property (at 100 percent of fair market value) per person in a city or town

Income Wealth Factor

  • Counts for 30% of a town’s Base Aid Ratio
  • Determined using a town’s Median Household Income (MHI), compared to the state median MHI, as calculated by the U.S. Census Bureau’s American Community Survey
  • MHI refers to the income level earned by a given household where half of the homes in the area earn more and half earn less
Additional Funding for Towns in Need

The ECS formula also adds additional funding for communities that have one of the highest Public Investment Communities (PIC) index scores. Under the formula, if a town has one of the 19 highest PIC index scores, the town receives a bonus of three to six percentage points to its Base Aid Ratio — resulting in increased state education aid to the town.

Calculated annually by Connecticut’s Office of Policy and Management, the PIC index measures the relative wealth and need of Connecticut’s towns by ranking them in descending order by their cumulative point allocations based on: per capita income; adjusted equalized net grand list per capita; equalized mill rate; per capita aid to children receiving Temporary Family Assistance benefits; and unemployment rate.

The below chart outlines the additional percentage point bonus towns with one of the 19 highest PIC index scores will see added to their Base Aid Ratio.

Other Important Formula Components

Statewide Guaranteed Wealth Level (SGWL): Commonly referred to as the threshold factor, the SGWL determines each town’s ECS aid percentage. Each town’s ability to support its public schools (as determined by the Base Aid Ratio) is compared to the SGWL to determine what percentage of the per-student funding amount the town will receive from ECS aid and what will have to come from local tax dollars. As the SGWL is lowered, and all other formula factors remain constant, the formula distributes education aid more equitably. The SGWL was lowered from 1.5 to 1.35 beginning in fiscal year 2019, which created a more equitable distribution of state education aid.

Minimum Aid Ratio: Under the ECS formula, all districts are guaranteed some state education aid, even when the result of the ECS formula calculation would be that a town would not be entitled to receive ECS grant funding. This guarantee is the result of the formula’s Minimum Aid Ratio, which is 10% for Alliance Districts and 1% for all other non-Alliance Districts.