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  • Equity must be focus of Connecticut’s new ‘normal,’ school reopening plan (CT Mirror)

    Op-ed

    From the tragic loss of more than 4,300 of our neighbors, to the economic insecurity felt by hundreds of thousands of Connecticut residents, the COVID-19 pandemic has caused heartache, stress, and anxiety across all four corners of our state. To put it simply, the pandemic has altered our “normal.” But among the severe changes and disruptions it has caused, the pandemic has, sadly, not altered the long-standing, painful inequity that continues to be part of Connecticut’s “normal.” In fact, the pandemic has only made the state’s inequity worse, particularly when it comes to education.

  • Build on progress by sticking to the ECS formula (CT Mirror)

    Op-ed

    Nearly three years ago, the Connecticut General Assembly took a positive — and bipartisan — step forward for fairly funding our state’s local public schools by passing a more equitable and transparent Education Cost Sharing (ECS) formula. Over the next two fiscal years alone, the ECS formula will drive an additional $84.5 million to Alliance Districts, the state’s 33 lowest-performing school districts, which serve a disproportionate amount of Connecticut’s low-income students and English Learners.

  • Special Education Funding Must Be Predictable, Meet Student and Town Needs (CT by the Numbers)

    Op-ed

    The resources required to support students with the special education services they need and deserve vary significantly, and often pose difficult planning and financial questions for Connecticut’s public school districts and municipalities. This difficulty is compounded by the fact that Connecticut is one of only four states with no system for funding its special education students, which has created unpredictable special education costs for local school districts.

  • Lawmakers are jeopardizing school funding equity — again (CT Mirror)

    Op-ed

    While the structure of Connecticut's new Education Cost Sharing formula is strong and should be maintained, an education funding formula is only as good as the data it uses. Unfortunately, the spending plan adopted by the General Assembly’s Appropriations Committee last week ignores this principle and threatens the accuracy and integrity of the new formula by using an inaccurate count of low-income students and continuing to identify such students through an outdated and unreliable method.

  • PERSPECTIVE: Research Worth Review in School Regionalization Debate (CT By the Numbers)

    Op-ed

    School district consolidation. Mention this concept to Connecticut residents and you’re sure to get a variety of opinions, passionate arguments and disagreements, and questions and concerns about what it would mean for their local public schools. This reaction has been evident over the past few months since the introduction of several pieces of legislation concerning the regionalization and/or consolidation of school districts. However, one important thing has, unfortunately, been largely absent from this reaction and the conversation about school district consolidation: a fair and honest look at the research.

  • The Medicare Savings Program rescue plan is fiscally irresponsible (CT Mirror)

    Op-ed

    Today, both chambers of the Connecticut General Assembly are expected to vote on a bill that would reverse new eligibility restrictions for the Medicare Savings Program, which provides financial assistance to low-income seniors and those who are disabled for medical expenses not covered by Medicare. However, if preventing its previous decision to eliminate or reduce financial assistance for tens of thousands of Medicare recipients is a priority for the General Assembly — and it is certainly a worthy priority and an important and critical program for many in our state — then the legislature should find the funds needed in a fiscally responsible way that does not further increase the deficit and jeopardize other budgetary commitments.

  • A new window into Connecticut’s finances (CT Mirror)

    Op-ed

    Three years ago this month, Office of Policy and Management Secretary Ben Barnes stated Connecticut had “entered into a period of permanent fiscal crisis.” That fiscal crisis, which was decades in the making, looms to this day, and continues to present state and local policymakers with difficult decisions. However, to properly address these challenges we must first understand them and know what problems our state must solve. This starts with understanding the data.

  • Democrats’ school funding plan ‘not legitimate, logical or responsible’ (CT Mirror)

    Op-ed

    For nearly four decades, our state has struggled to equitably fund its public schools, and now Connecticut counts itself as one of only four states in the nation not currently using a formula to distribute state education aid. Connecticut has arrived in this position because instead of addressing the school funding challenges our state faces, state and legislative leadership have too often resorted to temporary fixes, patchwork policies, and flawed formulas. The budget proposal released by House Democrats on August 23, unfortunately, continues this trend by failing to include a comprehensive school funding formula that is logical, equitable, or even remotely realistic. While there are certainly aspects of the House Democratic budget proposal worthy of discussion and debate, its formula for distributing state education aid — a formula which would require the state to increase state education aid by more than $800 million above the current level and take more than 50 years to fully fund — is not one of them.

  • Setting The Record Straight On A Special Education Co-op (CTNewsJunkie)

    Op-ed

    The Special Education Predictable Cost Cooperative (the Co-op) is a special education finance system that allows the state and local governments to share in special education costs. Our organization, the Connecticut School Finance Project, in partnership with the University of Connecticut’s Goldenson Center for Actuarial Research and Neag School of Education, developed the model to help increase stability and predictability in special education funding for school districts, while ensuring decisions in service delivery and identification remain local.

  • Malloy’s school funding plan does not go far enough (CT Mirror)

    Op-ed

    For more than two centuries, Connecticut has been colloquially known as “The Land of Steady Habits.” But our state’s tradition of arbitrarily, illogically, and inequitably funding its public schools is a bad habit Connecticut desperately needs to break. Unfortunately, Gov. Dannel Malloy’s recent budget proposal does not go far enough to address the fundamental flaws of Connecticut’s school finance system. Instead, the proposal continues the decades-old bad habit of funding education through a maze of unconnected, arbitrary formulas and does not ensure that all of Connecticut’s schools and districts have the resources they need to ensure equitable access to educational opportunities for all of our state’s more than 500,000 students.