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Each year, over $12 billion is spent on K-12 public education in Connecticut. The money that pays for this spending comes from three primary sources: local, state, and federal tax dollars. Approximately 96% of Connecticut public school funding comes from state and local sources, with 58% ($7 billon) coming from local property tax revenue and 37.2% ($4.5 billion) coming from state sources.

The Funding Formulas

While the primary sources of education funding (local, state, and federal tax dollars) are relatively simple, how each allocates or provides funding is not always as straightforward — particularly when it comes to how the State of Connecticut provides funding to its public schools.

The State of Connecticut distributes state education funding to public schools through a variety of formulas and grants. Currently, Connecticut’s legislature uses more than 10 different funding formulas to determine how much money public schools should receive.

These formulas range in complexity and differ based on the type of public school being funded. In fact, Connecticut uses five different formulas for magnet schools, two different formulas for charter schools, and individual formulas for the Connecticut Technical Education and Career System, agriscience programs, and the Open Choice program.

Funding Formulas & Student Needs

Of these formulas, the Education Cost Sharing (ECS) formula, which is used to fund local and regional public school districts, is the only one that takes student learning needs into consideration.

As a result, more than 78,000 Connecticut students who attend other types of public schools are not funded by a formula that accounts for their learning needs. Instead, these students, who are disproportionately students of color, are funded through flat-dollar grants.

The School and State Finance Project is working collaboratively with legislative, education, community, and municipal stakeholders across the state to change this, and finally ensure all of Connecticut's public school students are provided equitable education funding based on their learning needs.

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