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Two pieces of legislation (Conn. Acts 12-116, passed by the Connecticut General Assembly in 2012, and the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), passed by the U.S. Congress in 2015) require Connecticut to take steps toward greater transparency in education spending. This policy brief provides an update on the implementation status of these pieces of legislation, and examines how they impact transparency in school finance.
Each day, more than 68,700 of the students who pass through the doors of Connecticut’s public schools require special education services, making up 13 percent of the state's total public school enrollment. The individual learning needs of these students are wide-ranging and unique. As a result of these wide-ranging needs, the resources required to provide students with a “free appropriate public education” vary significantly, and often pose difficult planning and financial questions to Connecticut’s public schools. The report examines the special education finance systems of all 50 states and finds Connecticut is one of only four states in the country that does not have a system for funding all special education students.
Throughout the country, states use various methods and mechanisms to fund their public schools and attempt to account for student needs. In this policy briefing, the Connecticut School Finance Project examines how Connecticut’s peer states fund their public schools and how they account for the larger costs associated with educating students with greater learning needs, such as low-income students and English Language Learners (ELLs).