Response to Governor’s Budget: Federal Relief Should Supplement State Ed Investments, Not Replace



DATE: February 10, 2010

CONTACT: Amy Dowell | amy@dfer.org


Connecticut - Today, alongside his FY 2022-2023 Budget Address, Governor Lamont released his 2021 legislative proposals. Included is a plan to send $400 million in federal emergency relief funds prioritizing low-performing districts, but to simultaneously postpone the delivery of previously approved increases to the state’s Education Cost Sharing (ECS) formulawhich were due to roll-out in 2021-22. In response, Amy Dowell, State Director of Democrats for Education Reform CT, made the following statement:


“We recognize that today’s budget is just the beginning of a conversation that will span the legislative session about how we distribute the state’s available resources. Wherever Connecticut ultimately arrives, the final budget will send a message about the values we share as a state.


“The Governor’s budget proposal contains good news on higher education and school choice. It proposes continued funding for Pledge to Advance Connecticut (PACT), a debt-free community college program; a simplified admissions process for academically prepared students to enroll in college; and adding a high school graduation requirement that students complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). These initiatives would increase college access and affordability. The Governor’s budget also increases funding for charter schools by 2.5%, recommending $3 million in FY 2022 and FY 2023, which would bring per pupil charter funding to $11,525. In addition, it includes funding to pilot expansion of the Open Choice program in Danbury and Norwalk. These ideas will create more choice for families and academic opportunity for those who want to participate.


“Significantly, however, the Governor’s proposal today would supplant state funding for schools with federal relief dollars, and postpone the phase-in of ECS resources by two years. The spirit of these federal funds, which Congress designated to address this health emergency, must be honored, particularly in high-need districts and schools. In 2017, a bi-partisan effort in the legislature produced an updated ECS formula that increases the state’s investment in students and school districts year over year for a decade, by $30 million in 2021 and $60 million in 2022, and so forth.


“These state funds were overdue long before the pandemic hit. This is a year to accelerate and expand the state’s investment to include all students and increase equity, not stay the course. Connecticut students will need all available funds to meet this moment.”

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About Democrats for Education Reform CT:

The state chapter of a national organization, Democrats for Education Reform CT advocates for change guided by progressive values. We seek to promote great educational opportunities and achievement for all by increasing equity, protecting civil rights, and strengthening the social safety net. We are building a political pipeline of Democratic leaders who will improve our education system so that it better serves students and families.


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