The Connecticut General Assembly Education Committee is hearing testimony Wednesday about how to make Connecticut’s education funding formula more equitable.
“What this bill does is it really simplifies the process of funding students that goes based on need,” Subira Gordon said.
Gordon, executive director of ConnCAN, said the legislation increases the weight for English language learners and students who live in concentrated poverty.
“We think so many families in Connecticut don’t have the option of real estate choice and the only way to get their child to a high-performing school is by exercising school choice,” Gordon said.
Lisa Hammersley, executive director of the School and State Finance Project, said it means students would be funded equitably regardless of the type of school they go to.
“The state has a $639 million funding gap between majority white districts and all other districts in the state of Connecticut,” Hammersley said.
The bill reduces the racial funding gap by 68%, but it doesn’t eliminate it.
However, Hammersley said the governor’s proposal to fund education means a second grader would have to wait until they are a sophomore to get the resources promised in 2017 as part of the bipartisan budget.
“A lot of progress was made in 2017 in directing more resources to our neediest communities,” House Majority Leader Jason Rojas said.
Rojas of East Hartford said this proposal builds on that without taking resources away from any community.
“Districts with high concentrations of poverty, districts with high numbers of English language learners, districts that don’t have the property wealth to allow them to adequately fund education at the level that’s needed. This bill attempts to address that in another way," Rojas added.
Rojas says they are talking with the appropriations committee and looking for the more than $400 million they need to fund it.
“What this attempts to do is deal with the inequities that we all know to be true, that existed for a long time,” he said.