Forum Examines Connecticut’s “Racist And Classist” Education Funding Formula–Property Tax Reform A Solution

Forget the studies and task forces about equitable public school funding. We don’t need them to tell us what we already know, says Iona Smith Nze, a pastor at Bethel AME Church in Bridgeport.

“The way that Connecticut funds public education is racist, and classist,” she added at a Zoom forum organized by the education support group FaithActs For Education. “There are vast spending inequities.”

Nze and others pointed out the dramatic gulf in Connecticut’s per-student spending that ranges in the thousands of dollars between cities and suburbs.

At the 17:34 mark of the forum Nze poses the following question to legislative leadership: “As senate and house leadership, do you commit to pass a budget in the 2021 legislative session that includes an education formula that equitably funds Black, Latino, and low-income students in all public schools?”

Leaders declared that the will is there but building a city-suburban coalition is a different story.

The problem centers on the number suburban legislators who hold vote sway over city lawmakers who want to reform the system, as noted by State Senator Dennis Bradley. How to persuade legislators from wealthy communities such as Westport and New Canaan to close the spending gap.

Bradley shared skepticism that major reforms will be passed, adding that perhaps a voucher system should be examined.

Several members of the city’s legislative delegation participated in the forum and urged passage of an equitable education funding formula.

State Rep. Steve Stafstrom who represents Black Rock and the West Side also echoed a theme he’s espoused for several years that the legislature has yet to embrace.

“This does go well beyond education,” he told the religious leaders. “Property tax reform absolutely has to be at the center of this. It’s not just about direct education aid.”

State Sen. Pro Tem Martin Looney said he is working to convince suburban legislators to vote for increased education aid and other items on his agenda.

“We have to build a coalition with the suburbs. We need suburban allies.”

The General Assembly convenes for a six-month session in January.

CT Mirror reporter Jacqueline Rabe Thomas has more here.



  1. There are already centuries of evidence of the general “contentment” of US society with income stratification — especially when it is definable in largely racial terms/segregation. The burbs have no interest in voluntarily recognizing and addressing the exploitation and abuse of red-lined, majority-minority communities such as Bridgeport. The burbs are happy to steal tax-base and infrastructure-social services to support that tax-base from Bridgeport, but consider it a “socialist”/”communist” affront when asked to account, in real terms, for their stolen prosperity…

    Only radical structural change, produced by the nascent, radical politics given birth in the wake of the tragedy of Trumpism, and the changes suggested in the evolving thesis of the new, radical American politics, will produce real change and progress for the exploited classes… The unworkable, diversionary tactics at addressing structural classism proposed by Looney and Stafstrom, and their political ilk, will only prolong and deepen the inequity and socioeconomic divide in Connecticut. Real jobs and wealth must be brought to our distressed cities. Tax-base rebuilt. Tens of thousands of local jobs related to new, local tax-base created… This must be done as part of a massive state/national effort to rebuild the cities. This requires the radical political change that has been suggested in the wake of Trumpism/COVID… The momentum of that radical political change must be made resonant with the politics of those who are really interested in, and determined to see socioeconomic justice in Connecticut and the rest of our country…

    Looney and Stafstrom obviously want to maintain the status quo by masquerading as progressive saviors — while in reality they are apologists for Connecticut’s traditional, regressive politics…

    Bring on Bernie and the Socialists if you want real change for the exploited and oppressed…

  2. I’m all for improving the manner in which education is funded but can someone point out specific solutions rather than ‘there’s got to be a better way.”

  3. Two things stuck out. One, it’s funny how race is so entrenched and portrayed to the point you can’t even say or add the term white when saying poor black and brown are being underfunded in urban city school funding. They say poor black and brown and others, marginalized, or low-income students, rural students. to name a few terms for the white who go urban PS. LOL Like white are not attending PS in Bridgeport, New Haven, Harford, Stamford, and “Others” 🙂 urban city PS. LOL

    Two, Sen McCorey made a profound statement, “It’s not always about funding It’s about teachers teaching. Let’s face it urban city end up it packing teachers. LOL

    I don’t think any elective official, pastor, or activist on the panel used the term white in referring to those white students in urban under funded PS

    Let that sink in people, elected official, pastors. 🙂


    P.S Lennie has a point, and Maria burns the tapes. 🙂

  4. 1849 The Massachusetts Supreme Court rules that segregated schools are permissible under the state’s constitution. (Roberts v. City of Boston) The U.S. Supreme Court will later use this case to support the “separate but equal” doctrine.

    1857 With the Dred Scott decision, the Supreme Court upholds the denial of citizenship to African Americans and rules that descendants of slaves are “so far inferior that they had no rights which the white man was bound to respect.”

    1861 Southern states secede from the Union. The Civil War begins.

    1863 President Lincoln issues the Emancipation Proclamation, freeing slaves in Southern states. Because the Civil War is ongoing, the Proclamation has little practical effect.

    1865 The Civil War ends; the Thirteenth Amendment is enacted to abolish slavery.

    1868 The Fourteenth Amendment is ratified, guaranteeing “equal protection under the law”; citizenship is extended to African Americans.

    1875 Congress passes the Civil Rights Act of 1875, which bans racial discrimination in public accommodations.

    1883 The Supreme Court strikes down the Civil Rights Act of 1875 finding that discrimination by individuals or private businesses is constitutional.

    1890 Louisiana passes the first Jim Crow law requiring separate accommodations for Whites and Blacks.

    1896 The Supreme Court authorizes segregation in Plessy v. Ferguson, finding Louisiana’s “separate but equal” law constitutional. The ruling, built on notions of white supremacy and black inferiority, provides legal justification for Jim Crow laws in southern states.

    1899 The Supreme Court allows a state to levy taxes on black and white citizens alike while providing a public school for white children only. (Cumming v. Richmond (Ga.) County Board of Education)

    1908 The Supreme Court upholds a state’s authority to require a private college to operate on a segregated basis despite the wishes of the school. (Berea College v. Kentucky)

    1927 The Supreme Court finds that states possess the right to define a Chinese student as non-white for the purpose of segregating public schools. (Gong Lum v. Rice)

    1936 The Maryland Supreme Court orders the state’s white law school to enroll a black student because there is no state-supported law school for Blacks in Maryland. (University of Maryland v. Murray)

    1938 The Supreme Court rules the practice of sending black students out of state for legal training when the state provides a law school for whites within its borders does not fulfill the state’s “separate but equal” obligation. The Court orders Missouri’s all-white law school to grant admission to an African American student. (Missouri ex rel. Gaines v. Canada)

    1940 30% of Americans — 40% of Northerners and 2% of Southerners — believe that Whites and Blacks should attend the same schools.

    A federal court requires equal salaries for African American and white teachers. (Alston v. School Board of City of Norfolk)

    1947 In a precursor to the Brown case, a federal appeals court strikes down segregated schooling for Mexican American and white students. (Westminster School Dist. v. Mendez) The verdict prompts California Governor Earl Warren to repeal a state law calling for segregation of Native American and Asian American students.

    1948 Arkansas desegregates its state university.

    The Supreme Court orders the admission of a black student to the University of Oklahoma School of Law, a white school, because there is no law school for Blacks. (Sipuel v. Board of Regents of the University of Oklahoma)

    1950 The Supreme Court rejects Texas’ plan to create a new law school for black students rather than admit an African American to the state’s whites-only law school. (Sweatt v. Painter)

    The Supreme Court rules that learning in law school “cannot be effective in isolation from the individuals and institutions with which the law interacts.” The decision stops short of overturning Plessy.

    The Supreme Court holds that the policy of isolating a black student from his peers within a white law school is unconstitutional. (McLaurin v. Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education)

    Barbara Johns, a 16-year-old junior at Robert R. Moton High School in Farmville, Va., organizes and leads 450 students in an anti-school segregation strike.

    1952 The Supreme Court hears oral arguments in Brown v. Board of Education. Thurgood Marshall, who will later become the first African American justice on the Supreme Court, is the lead counsel for the black school children.

    1953 Earl Warren is appointed Chief Justice of the Supreme Court.

    The Supreme Court hears the second round of arguments in Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka.

    1954 In a unanimous opinion, the Supreme Court in Brown v. Board of Education overturns Plessy and declares that separate schools are “inherently unequal.” The Court delays deciding on how to implement the decision and asks for another round of arguments.

    The Court rules that the federal government is under the same duty as the states and must desegregate the Washington, D.C., schools. (Bolling v. Sharpe)

    1955 In Brown II, the Supreme Court orders the lower federal courts to require desegregation “with all deliberate speed.”

    1955 Between 1955 and 1960, federal judges will hold more than 200 school desegregation hearings.

    1956 49% of Americans — 61% of Northerners and 15% of Southerners — believe that Whites and Blacks should attend the same schools.

    Tennessee Governor Frank Clement calls in the National Guard after white mobs attempt to block the desegregation of a high school.

    Under court order, the University of Alabama admits Autherine Lucy, its first African American student. White students and residents riot. Lucy is suspended and later expelled for criticizing the university.

    The Virginia legislature calls for “massive resistance” to school desegregation and pledges to close schools under desegregation orders.

    1957 More than 1,000 paratroopers from the 101st Airborne Division and a federalized Arkansas National Guard protect nine black students integrating Central High School in Little Rock, Ark.

    1958 The Supreme Court rules that fear of social unrest or violence, whether real or constructed by those wishing to oppose integration, does not excuse state governments from complying with Brown. (Cooper v. Aaron)

    10,000 young people march in Washington, D.C., in support of integration.

    1959 25,000 young people march in Washington, D.C., in support of integration.

    Prince Edward County, Va., officials close their public schools rather than integrate them. White students attend private academies; black students do not head back to class until 1963, when the Ford Foundation funds private black schools. The Supreme Court orders the county to reopen its schools on a desegregated basis in 1964.

    1960 In New Orleans, federal marshals shielded Ruby Bridges, Gail St. Etienne, Leona Tate and Tessie Prevost from angry crowds as they enrolled in school.

    1961 A federal district court orders the University of Georgia to admit African American students Hamilton Holmes and Charlayne Hunter. After a riot on campus, the two are suspended. A court later reinstates them.

    1962 A federal appeals court orders the University of Mississippi to admit James Meredith, an African American student. Upon his arival, a mob of more than 2,000 white people riots.

    1963 62% of Americans — 73% of Northerners and 31% of Southerners — believe Blacks and Whites should attend the same schools.

    Two African American students, Vivian Malone and James A. Hood, successfully register at the University of Alabama despite George Wallace’s “stand in the schoolhouse door” — but only after President Kennedy federalizes the Alabama National Guard.

    For the first time, a small number of black students in Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana and Mississippi attend public elementary and secondary schools with white students.

    1964 The Civil Rights Act of 1964 is adopted. Title IV of the Act authorizes the federal government to file school desegregation cases. Title VI of the Act prohibits discrimination in programs and activities, including schools, receiving federal financial assistance.

    The Rev. Bruce Klunder is killed protesting the construction of a new segregated school in Cleveland, Ohio.

    1968 The Supreme Court orders states to dismantle segregated school systems “root and branch.” The Court identifies five factors — facilities, staff, faculty, extracurricular activities and transportation — to be used to gauge a school system’s compliance with the mandate of Brown. (Green v. County School Board of New Kent County)

    1. I stopped at 1968 but there’s much more but would someone please inform me about the discrimination in education for white men in America or in fact of any discrimination against white men by law against them like was done to all blacks.

      1. It’s not as much as where you ended as it is as much as where you started. Or at the very least the limited scope of it. I am pleased to inform you there is a Hell of a lot more to oppression and discrimination in this world, but at least you used the term white.

        To my point, something the people on that penal intellectually, purposely avoided to do to so not to put whites in the same status of oppression as blacks or “others” in America or in world history, to keep there race and racism game. However, OIB is an Indentured servitude to the knowledge to the cut and pasted education possess that was was bestowed upon you. JS

        1. You possess.

          P.S Let”s not forget, many white people paid for what you call America’s original sin. As was as, fought and died to reverse to where you cut and past stared and is the backbone in the current fight that those Activist, elected officials, and pastors, I will grant you each don’t see eye to eye with each other with there own form of oppression and race or color doesn’t apply, yet exists. JS

  5. Comrade, some Google information to inform you. Here are the top three communities, who are majority white, Danbury, with a racial demographic of White (50.4%), Hispanic (30.2%), and Black (8.1%), New Britain, with 47.7% Non-Hispanic White, 36.8% Hispanic or Latino, 10.9% African American, and Meriden, with 73.5% White, 9.7% Black or African American, 10.7% from other races. All three spend less per student than Bridgeport. I will not call it discrimination, but you get the point.

    Now there are many variables to one’s education and growth, personal finances, family structure and environment, teachers, and so forth. But what can not be funded is a term called studying? You can fund all you want if you have a teacher in the class that is not teaching and a student that is going to put in the time, and study. The results are not going to change.

    Tony Barr talks about having a private school education from Notre Dame, yet it didn’t stop him from serving 20 years. JS

    Can’t speak about the state fund matrix formula on the local tax base burden on the residence and its effect on the city. But it seems out of Bridgeport’s two comparable cities, New Haven and Harford. The Port spends $14,400 per student, Harford spends $17,200, and New Haven spends $16,700. Hartford spends $17,200 per student, where the Port contributes $900 less per student,18.5 million then Hartford and receives $1900 less from the state to the tune of $46 million more than the Port. New Haven spends $16,700 per student, where the Port contributes $2,300 less, but the Port receives $600 more in the state fund, yet New Haven receives 10 million from the Feds, to the tune of 56 million more. (ballpark)

    While Stamford spends 19,300 per student most of their funding comes from the state depending on how you want to look at it. Either they get completely short changes or excluded from the conversation regarding the matrix of state funding by the other unban CT cities.

    That being said, I felt like Maria while making this post, burn the tapes, and JML, check the math.

    The moral of this post, clearly I am bored, and who the architect of the school funding Matrix. 🙂


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