Testimony Before the Education Committee
February 3, 2023
Executive Director, Education Reform Now CT
Co-chairs McCrory and Currey, Vice Chairs Winfield and Leeper, Ranking Members McCarty and Berthel, and members of the Education Committee–thank you for the opportunity to provide testimony today in support of H.B. 5003 - An Act Concerning Education Funding in Connecticut.
My name is Amy Dowell, and I am the Executive Director of Education Reform Now CT (ERN CT). In 2017, I had the pleasure of working with many members of the General Assembly on a bipartisan effort to “Fix the Formula” and make systemic changes to the Education Cost Sharing (ECS) grant. I am proud to have been a part of the legislative fix that made school funding more fair, adding new weights for student needs, increasing transparency and allocating over $300M per year in new resources to districts. Much of those allocated resources have arrived over the last few years in district budgets.
There is, however, more work to be done. This year, we hope that Connecticut will finish the work of fixing the formula.
HB 5003 would adopt a student-centered funding model, which would send state resources to each public school based on the needs of its students, rather than on the type of school. It would accelerate the full phase-in of education funding, providing long-overdue support to underfunded districts. It would also help schools to address the ongoing impact of the pandemic on student learning and mental health.
While district needs often extend well beyond the resources they have available, and the imbalance in local revenue levels will continue to make the field uneven, we have a moral obligation to continue our efforts to get this right. That means giving schools the resources that their individual students need, and making it happen today. Please vote in favor of HB 5003.
About Education Reform Now CT The state chapter of a national organization and affiliate of DFER CT, Education Reform Now CT is a 501(c)(3) that operates as a think tank and policy advocate, promoting great educational opportunities and achievement for all by increasing equity, protecting civil rights, and strengthening the social safety net.