So why aren't we able to hire the teachers we need?
the hardest place to raise funds for education bears the greatest burden
On average, the federal government pays 9% of local education costs State governments pay almost 50% Towns & counties pay 41%
The State of Connecticut pays far less of our local education budgets than the average: Average state share = 49.5% State of CT share = 39%
Overall, more than half of all school funding in Connecticut comes from local property taxes. In some smaller towns, as much as 80% comes from property taxes
Making things even harder, we have 166 school districts, shrinking enrollments, and concentrated poverty.
Horton v. Meskill (1977) The state, in relying on town property taxes to finance so much of the education budget, illegally failed to provide children in poorer towns with high-quality education
The Education Cost Sharing (ECS) formula was the legislature's response. Generally, it provides more state education aid to poorer towns than to richer towns.
ECS was never fully funded or implemented. It isn't based on what it really costs to educate kids. The formula's been tinkered into disfunctionality
Sheff v. O'Neill (1996) found that the State of Connecticut has to remedy racial, ethnic, and economic segregation in the schools
Interdistrict and regional magnet schools emerged as the answer to Sheff v. O'Neill. That resolution is still ongoing.
CCJEF v. Rell the Connecticut Constitution guarantees students not just a public education, but one that can prepare them for employment, higher education and civic responsibilities like voting and jury duty.
Horton v. Meskill required “ equal ” education. CCJEF requires every child receive an “ adequate ” education
"We conclude that [the state constitution] entitles Connecticut public school students to an education suitable to give them the opportunity to be responsible citizens able to participate fully in democratic institutions, such as jury service and voting,"
"A constitutionally adequate education also will leave Connecticut's students prepared to progress to institutions of higher education, or to attain productive employment and otherwise contribute to the state's economy,"
The lawsuits define the legal obligation of the State of Connecticut to children and schools in Connecticut. So what's really happening?
The State’s share of local public education, statewide is just 36.8% ‐‐ the lowest in over a quarter century (FY 83); some cuts in education aid were prevented by use of $270 million in federal stimulus funds – funds that will disappear after the second year of the biennium.
Reimbursement for Special Education falls short of the statewide need.
PILOT payments for state‐mandated tax‐exempt property of the State and of private colleges and hospitals were cut by $14 million.
Pequot‐Mohegan grants provided as much as $135 million annually from FY 1998 to FY 02. This year, slashed again, they will provide just $61.8 million. At its inception,municipalities received 78% of these slot‐machine revenues – this year they will receive just 16%.
Sorce: CCM: Do the Math
CCM's solution : Hometown Connecticut will only be able to maintain essential service continuity without exorbitant increases in property taxes if state leaders make the tough choices necessary to (a) protect municipal aid programs, (b) enact mandates relief, (c) promote voluntary regionalism, and (d) provide new local-option revenues.
Connecticut Coalition for Justice in Education Funding cautions:
Equal and meaningful educational opportunity in a state with the nation’s worst achievement gap will not come without substantially greater investment.
Municipalities cannot, nor should they be expected to, continue to carry such a high share of the financial burden for the funding of their local schools.
Devising an effective school finance system that equitably distributes adequate funding for all schoolchildren will require reforming the state’s revenue structures including placing a greater reliance on progressive tax measures and less reliance on property taxes, while creating mechanisms that ensure stable and adequate funding of schools.
Better Choices for Connecticut is a community coalition working to help Connecticut make smarter choices on ways to improve the state’s imbalanced revenue system so that it:
Advances opportunity for shared prosperity for all Connecticut residents;
Preserves services for children, families and the elderly;
Creates and sustains good jobs; and
Reinvests in the middle class and our communities.
How do we get there?
Paul Wessel CT Parent Power www.CTParentPower.org [email_address] 110 Bartholomew Ave, Suite 4030 Hartford, CT 06106