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ERIC Number: ED535253
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2009-Nov
Pages: 47
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: N/A
The Tab: How Connecticut Can Fix Its Dysfunctional Education Spending System to Reward Success, Incentivize Choice and Boost Student Achievement. A ConnCAN/Public Impact Research Report
Hassel, Bryan C.; Doyle, Daniela
Thirty years ago, the Connecticut Supreme Court forced our state to take stock of its system for funding schools. Our poorest towns had thousands of dollars less per child to spend. Today, our poorest districts spend roughly the same as our richest, but Connecticut's poor children still score far below their wealthy peers. Our school finance system has begun to resemble a closed-door silent auction: legislators clamor for more education funds for their constituents. District costs rise each year, keeping central office administrators and mayors on edge. Formulas are ignored while backroom budget negotiations layer on more funds for districts with the loudest voices. This is not conspiracy theory; it happens every year in Connecticut. The tab for our K-12 school system is Connecticut's largest public investment at more than $7 billion per year. But we have created a tangle of funding that disguises how money flows and does little to produce dramatic gains for children who need them. We have been taught to believe that increased spending will lead to better schools, but our finance system is completely disconnected from what will improve student achievement. We need to connect money with achievement and inputs with outputs. Just as our schools should prioritize student achievement above all else, our finance system should incentivize practices that produce learning and operate with enough transparency that policymakers can determine what works and what doesn't. Creating a better system will require major reform. This report assesses the current state of our school finance system, outlines the principles of a more effective approach, and proposes detailed solutions, including the costs of those solutions and a transition plan for implementation. Three clear, practical recommendations stand out that are ready to begin a journey through the state's policymaking process: (1) Revamp the state's funding formula so that money follows children based on their needs; (2) Shine a bright light on education finance by creating a comprehensive and easily accessible data system on school funding; and (3) Remove fiscal barriers that stand in the way of creating great schools for everyone. Although Connecticut faces daunting educational challenges, these commonsense reforms can make our state a national leader once again. Data Sources and Methodology are appended. (Contains 4 tables, 5 figures and 79 footnotes.) [Foreword by Alex Johnston. Introduction by Tori Truscheit. This paper was published in partnership with Public Impact.
ConnCAN. 85 Willow Street, New Haven, CT 06511. Tel: 203-772-4017; Fax: 203-404-7781; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: Elementary Secondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: Connecticut Coalition for Achievement Now (ConnCAN)
Identifiers - Location: Connecticut