Governor Dannel Malloy makes his State of the State address today to the Connecticut General Assembly which will include details of his midterm budget proposal and an emphasis on education reform. Increasing the minimum wage, suds on Sunday, abolishing the death penalty, red light cameras to snag motorists are among the issues that state legislators are expected to debate this session.
From the governor:
GOV. MALLOY ANNOUNCES AN ADDITIONAL $50 MILLION IN ECS FUNDING
Provides Significant Financial Support to “Alliance Districts” Conditioned Upon the Enactment of Meaningful Reforms
(HARTFORD, CT) – As part of his proposal to reform education from early childhood through college, Governor Dannel P. Malloy today announced an additional $50 million in Educational Cost Sharing (ECS) funding to schools. Nearly $40 million will go to newly-established Alliance Districts, made up of the state’s 30 lowest-performing school districts – conditioned upon the districts’ implementation of key education reform strategies. An additional $4.5 million in competitive funding will be offered to all districts – with a preference for the 30 Alliance districts, to enable even more ambitious innovations and deeper reforms.
“It is critical that we get to the schools that are really struggling—and do it quickly,” said Governor Malloy. “We can get good teachers into classrooms, and hire the best superintendents and administrators, but we must address the overarching resources issue and fund the programs that will directly reach the kids who are at a disadvantage because their school is underperforming. We have held towns harmless, no one is losing ECS funding—which sends a clear signal to our children that we will make the investment and deliver on our promise of high-quality education for every student in Connecticut.”
“I strongly believe that every child in our state deserves the opportunity to get a quality education, regardless of where they live. That is why one of our first priorities after taking office was to fully fund the ECS for all towns, and that is why we are making this targeted investment – to give that equal chance to children who happen to attend an under-performing school,” said Lt. Governor Nancy Wyman.
In his December 20, 2011 letter to the leadership of the Connecticut General Assembly, Governor Malloy identified a set of principles and themes to guide the state’s education reform efforts in 2012. He addressed school funding, proposing to “deliver more resources, targeted to districts with the greatest need – provided that they embrace key reforms that position our students for success.”
ALLIANCE DISTRICTS WILL RECEIVE CONDITIONAL FUNDING
The Governor’s proposal identifies the state’s 30 lowest-performing school districts as participants in a Performance Alliance between these districts and the State, which makes them eligible for significant increases in conditional state funding. In order to receive its allotted increase, each Alliance District must submit a reform plan that may include elements of reform strategies in the Governor’s proposal. The State Department of Education will consider these plans for approval.
The list of reform strategies from which Alliance Districts may select include: tiered district interventions for schools based on school-level student performance; additional learning time including extended school day and year programming; the implementation of career ladders for school personnel; a professional development system informed by educator evaluations; plans to ensure K-3 reading mastery; coordination of early childhood education services; the establishment of a community schools approach by establishing wraparound services for students with linkages to health and social service providers; and other strategies as determined by the Education Commissioner.
Alliance Districts will have new funding phased in at the rate of 2.47 percent of the gap between what they currently receive in ECS funding and the new formula amount. Other districts will receive 1.4 percent of the funding amount gap.
“The Governor’s proposal acknowledges that resource constraints are one obstacle to many of our low-performing districts’ ability to improve their schools – while recognizing that increased funding alone will not improve student achievement,” Education Commissioner Stefan Pryor said. “Rather, it is essential that these districts also embrace reforms rooted in best practices. The conditional funding model provides added resources and increased accountability. We look forward to working in alliance with these low-performing districts as they implement their reforms and elevate their achievement levels.”
ECS FUNDING 2013-2014
• 30 school districts – the Alliance Districts – will receive the most substantial increases in state funding, conditioned upon implementation of reform plans.
• A total of 130 towns will receive more ECS funding than they did in 2011-2012.
• No town will see funding drop from 2011-2012 levels.
• There will be a new, more current child poverty measure. It will also capture child poverty in all parts of the state.
• Household income data will be streamlined and replaced by annually updated Median Household Income (MHI) data.