In his State of the State address on the opening day of the 2017 legislative session, Governor Malloy today committed to funding teacher pensions and said he plans to propose a new method for how state education aid is distributed.
“Connecticut needs a new way to calculate educational aid—one that guarantees equal access to a quality education regardless of zip code,” the governor said.
Malloy will give his budget address February 8 and said he plans to include in his budget proposal for the 2017-18 fiscal year “a more equitable system for providing town aid.”
It will be based on the local property tax burden, student need, and current enrollment.
The system will be designed to be more fair, transparent, accountable, and adaptable—meaning that it will provide flexibility to fit the needs of a given community.
The result will be a fairer distribution of our state’s limited funds.
And if we are successful in this effort, there will be an important ancillary benefit—we can help ensure that no Connecticut city or town will need to explore the avoidable path of bankruptcy.
To be clear, that kind of help shouldn’t come without strings attached. If the state is going to play a more active role in helping less-affluent communities—in helping higher-taxed communities—part of that role will be holding local political leadership and stakeholders to substantially higher standards and greater accountability than they’ve been held to in the past. We should do it so that increased aid doesn’t simply mean more spending on local government.
Commenting on the governor’s address, Republican state Rep. Vincent Candelora said he thinks that, without additional funds, a redistribution of existing education aid will be a tough sell to the General Assembly and could lead to a “turf war.”