The bipartisan budget plan expected to be approved this week would cut the primary state grant by $31.4 million
The primary state grant that will be cut in the bipartisan budget plan will not affect Connecticut’s 30 lowest-performing districts as well as three exempted towns, meaning the $31.4 million cuts will come from the state’s other 136 towns.
According to details of the budget released to the press in advance, no town will lose the entirety of its Education Cost Sharing benefits.
It is still unknown how funding will be managed for smaller education grants that low-performing, poorer districts rely on for after-school programs, support for English language learners, and summer programs.
Senate Majority Leader Bob Duff said of the new budget: “We’re not talking millions and millions. This is not going to pull the rug out from these smaller districts.”
Senate Republican Leader Led Fasano echoed Duff’s statement, saying: “It’s absorbable.”
Key overhauls in the formula for the budget include trying to close largest-in-the-nation achievement gaps
Connecticut has one of the highest achievement gaps in the nation between English language learners and their native-speaking peers. The new budget aims to provide a 15 percent per-student part of the grant for each English learner.
The budget formula will continue to measure how many high-need students a school district has by how many students receive free or reduced school meals.
Towns that will no longer receive education aid will be allowed additional flexibility to meet a Connecticut state requirement that districts do not cut spending on an annual basis.
Duff said changes for the better would be clear once the formula was implemented.
“As the formula takes more effect, you will start seeing more aid going to towns where we all believe we should be seeing additional funding.”
“I think it’s beginning the process to finally have education funding reform, that, over time, will make it more clear how it helps those in need.”