For over four months state leaders have been in a stalemate over the budget, but as of this week, they’ve come to a compromise.
A bipartisan budget is set to be approved this week and it’s a mixed bag when it comes to education.
On the one hand, the latest budget deal finally fixes the state’s broken funding formula, on the other hand, adjustments to the formula don’t take effect until next year. This year the deal would $30 million in funding from the state’s main education grant, the Education Cost Sharing Grant (ECS).
“The state’s 30 lowest-performing districts would be shielded from any cuts this year, and each of the remaining 139 towns are cut by 5 percent. In dollars, this means Enfield, Stratford, Wallingford, West Hartford and Southington stand to lose the most with their cuts ranging from $1 million to $1.4 million.
In the following fiscal year, however, $30.9 million in ECS funding would be restored and a new formula used to direct more of that money to towns that have higher concentrations of students from low-income families and less ability to raise enough local tax money to pay for their public schools.
Of the $30.9 million in restored funding, just over half — $16.3 million — would go to the state’s 30 lowest-performing school districts and the remainder will be distributed to other communities. Currently 66 percent of overall ECS aid goes to these low-performing districts, and under this new plan, that will rise to 69 percent by fiscal 2019, but that’s largely because of the cuts the other districts will incur this fiscal year.”