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CT School Funding Proposal Improved, but Falling Short

Gov. Dannel Malloy wants to end the block-grant system of funding Connecticut public schools. (Dannel Malloy/Flickr)
Gov. Dannel Malloy wants to end the block-grant system of funding Connecticut public schools. (Dannel Malloy/Flickr)
February 10, 2017

HARTFORD, Conn. - Advocates for school-funding reform say Gov. Dannel Malloy's proposals are a step in the right direction but don't go far enough.

In his budget plan, Malloy called for ending the block-grant system of funding local school districts, and indicated that he wants to use enrollment in "HUSKY A," the state's Medicaid program for children, to more accurately represent populations of low-income students.

However, Michael Morton, communications manager for the Connecticut School Finance Project, said he thinks the governor's plan leaves a major obstacle to fair, transparent and equitable school funding in place.

"The biggest step that the state can take," he said, "is getting away from using 11 different funding formulas to fund its public schools."

According to the School Finance Project, the governor's proposal, although a good start, would not solve the fundamental challenges of the current school-finance system. Morton said a detailed analysis of the proposed changes shows they would drive more funding to some high-needs districts.

"So, you see Hartford, Waterbury, New Britain getting more resources," he said. "However, you'll see middle-income communities and even some high-needs communities, like New Haven, don't receive that same benefit."

The Office of Policy and Management has estimated that the governor's proposal would increase total state aid to education by about $21.4 million.

Morton emphasized that there's still a long way to go before the two-year spending plan is finalized.

"We are certainly very early in the process," he said, "and we'll be working with legislators to create a system that Connecticut can be proud of, and one that works for all of Connecticut's students."

More information is online at ctschoolfinance.org.

Andrea Sears, Public News Service - CT