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Group Releases Guide to School Funding Reform

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Thursday, December 1, 2016   

NEW HAVEN, Conn. – Connecticut's school funding system has been found unconstitutional, but a new Funding Formula Guidebook may help legislators as they consider reforms.

Produced by the Connecticut School Finance Project, a nonpartisan information and data resource, the guidebook gives an overview of research on funding policies, current needs and what other states have done.

Michael Morton, a spokesman for the group, says current funding is based on the number of students, with some adjustments for low-income students, but that doesn't paint a complete picture of what is needed.

"We also have to be considering including additional funding for English-language learners, considerations of concentrations of poverty, how low-income students are calculated," he points out.

The state is appealing the ruling by the Superior Court to the state Supreme Court, which should be hearing the case sometime in the spring.

But Morton says legislators don't need to wait for a final decision by the court in order to act.

"Every day that there is not an equitable funding system for Connecticut's students, you had students who are not receiving funding based on their individual learning needs," he stresses.

While the court ruled that the distribution of state education funding is unconstitutional, it left the amount of state funding available up to the state legislature.

Morton stresses that by including key components such as a core amount of funding and consideration of special needs students, the General Assembly can craft a distribution formula that is flexible and provides for every student.

"In order for Connecticut to be able to fund its students fairly and equitably, we need a system that is strong and can change with the way that Connecticut is changing," he states.




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