Obstacles to Equitable Funding

While the General Assembly has taken steps toward equitably funding Connecticut’s public school students, the state still faces several obstacles to implementing and maintaining a fully equitable school finance system.

This section looks deeper at some of the obstacles Connecticut faces to achieving equitable school funding for all its public school students. These obstacles include:

  • The school finance system remains disjointed: Connecticut continues to use more than 10 different funding formulas. Only one of these formulas takes student and community needs fully into consideration. Instead, these formulas are based on where a school is located and what type of school it is (local district, magnet, charter, etc.).
  • Local property taxes vary widely: Local property taxes are the largest source of funding for public schools. Community wealth varies widely in our state and some communities have very low property tax rates, while other communities have high property tax rates. This means some communities are able to fund their schools at higher levels than others.
  • Higher-need students doesn’t necessarily translate to greater resources: Despite research showing that higher-need students, such as those who are low-income or English Learners (EL), often need more resources to achieve at levels similar to their non-need peers, there continues to be no correlation in Connecticut between the percentage of low-income and EL students a district serves and its per-pupil spending.