A state Superior Court judge heard final arguments last month on the limits of the state’s responsibility in financing the education of all students, including those with low incomes living largely in urban school districts. He is expected to rule this week. How can our state, our taxpayers, spend more to take care of all “our kids” when court decisions are already forcing the state to spend hundreds of millions of dollars desegregating Hartford schools and caring for abused and neglected children? As a mother, and a housing professional, I think I know one clear answer.
Three weeks ago, in his sixth State of the State Address, Gov. Dannel Malloy laid out his five “budget principles” and called for a “more predictable, more sustainable, and more transparent” Connecticut budget that “prioritizes funding for core services.” Rightfully, one of the core services Malloy listed was public education. However, for Connecticut to prioritize education and achieve the governor’s budgetary goals, the state must fundamentally change the way it funds its public schools.
Connecticut’s funding system for all public schools is fundamentally broken. This dysfunction causes the incessant fighting over the state budget each year. Connecticut needs a funding solution for every school – charter, district, magnet, and the rest – that ensures that all students have the resources they need to learn.
We know that a great education can be life changing for so many students. Looking ahead, we must continue to ensure that we have a funding system that puts a great public education within reach of every child. The economic and civic future of our students, our communities and our state, depends on it.