Each legislative session, we engage in the same political fights that yield only incremental progress towards the goal of providing quality education for all children. These unproductive debates, which pit traditional schools against public charter schools, underscore the need to solve our fundamentally broken funding model that currently plagues our education system.
In a harrowing budget season, the legislature’s Appropriations Committee decided to remove a $4 million budget allotment for two new charter schools in our state. What must have been a difficult decision is also a prudent one on our legislators’ part, as our precious resources this budget cycle should go to those schools and programs that serve all students and which serve those children in the greatest need of our support.
Last week, the state’s Appropriations Committee proposed a budget that includes cuts of more than $20 million dollars to public charter schools — including funding for Capital Prep Harbor and Stamford Charter School for Excellence — two approved schools that families have been demanding and are counting on. This budget would stifle the progress we’ve made in the past few years and would hurt the future of children across our state.
With 40,000 students attending chronically low-performing schools, many thousands of families on wait lists for schools of choice, and the largest-in-the-nation achievement gap, Connecticut leaders must expand and sustain schools that are delivering results for students, especially children in poverty and children of color.
Connecticut state legislators should not forget about the students of the Connecticut State College and University system when apportioning state support. They have no $86 million dollar reserves to tap into — or $1.8 billion dollar state-funded initiatives to leverage.