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Town-by-Town Impact of Looming Executive Order School Funding Changes

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With October quickly approaching, the significant changes to state education funding contained in the governor’s Revised Executive Order Resource Allocation Plan will soon become a reality if a state budget is not adopted and signed by the governor by the start of the month.

Given the plethora of events and news surrounding the state budget that has occurred since Governor Dannel Malloy released his Revised Executive Order Resource Allocation Plan on August 18, we are sharing our analysis of the plan once again as a refresher.

Our independent analysis, which we released originally on August 22, compares state education funding for FY 2017 with the projected state education funding for FY 2018 under the governor’s Revised Executive Order Resource Allocation Plan. The full analysis, including a town-by-town list detailing the net change in state education funding, is available at http://ctschoolfinance.org/assets/uploads/files/Revised-Executive-Order-Resource-Allocation-Plan-Analysis.pdf.

Note: The governor has the authority to further revise the Resource Allocation Plan as the budget stalemate continues. Therefore, the state education funding changes contained in the Revised Executive Order Resource Allocation Plan may be altered again in the future. If the governor issues a new Resource Allocation Plan, the Connecticut School Finance Project will produce an analysis on how it impacts state education funding.

Below are some of the most significant state education funding changes included in the governor’s Revised Executive Order Resource Allocation Plan.

  • Reduces the Education Cost Sharing (ECS) grant by more than $557 million (from FY 2017 funding levels).
  • Holds Connecticut’s 30 Alliance Districts “harmless” by providing each of these districts with the same amount of ECS funding as they received in FY 2017.
  • Allocates a portion (ranging from 10-60 percent of their FY 2017 ECS grant) to 54 non-Alliance Districts whose towns’ total municipal expenditures are funded by more than 22.24 percent state revenue.
  • Eliminates ECS funding for 85 non-Alliance Districts whose towns’ total municipal expenditures are funded by less than 22.24 percent state revenue.
  • Increases the Special Education Excess Cost grant by $7 million over the FY 2017 appropriated amount, bringing the grant total to $143 million.

These changes are amplified by cuts made in the Revised Resource Allocation Plan to municipal aid, such as the elimination of the Payment in Lieu of Taxes (PILOT) grant program, which reimburses towns for tax-exempt property from hospitals, universities, state-owned properties, churches, etc. Additionally, the Revised Executive Order Resource Allocation Plan eliminates all Priority School District grant funding, which is designed to “assist designated school districts in improving student achievement and enhancing educational opportunities.”

Along with our analysis of the Revised Executive Order Resource Allocation Plan, we are have created a table that details the statutory and historical payment schedules for state education grants. This table is available at http://ctschoolfinance.org/assets/uploads/files/Comparison-of-Grant-Payment-Schedules.pdf.

Some grants, such as the ECS grant, have payment schedules outlined in state statute while others, such as the Special Education Excess Cost grant, do not have payment schedules outlined in statute and are therefore the State Department of Education has considerable discretion over the timing of their distribution. The Connecticut Mirror has also compiled a helpful tool that allows users to find out when municipal aid grants, including state education aid grants, were issued to specific towns in FY 2017. You can find this tool at the bottom of the article at https://ctmirror.org/2017/08/22/poorest-districts-spared-some-ed-funding-cuts-still-to-be-hit-hard-by-others/.

Finally, as we have previously noted, the Revised Executive Order Resource Allocation Plan is meant to be a temporary measure and only covers FY 2018. At any time, the legislature can pass a budget, which, when signed by the governor, would supersede the Revised Executive Order Resource Allocation Plan.

We hope you find this information both helpful and informative. Should you have any questions or comments regarding this information, please email us at info@ctschoolfinance.org.