Urges Governor and legislators to take a responsible approach to education funding, create CARES Commission to ensure all students succeed
The Connecticut Coalition for Public Education (CCPE) is calling on the governor and state legislators to responsibly address state funding for Connecticut’s public schools by creating the Connecticut Achievement and Resource Equity in Schools (CARES) Commission. The commission would create a long-term plan for the state to address its constitutional obligation to fund local schools, ensuring that all students have the opportunities to succeed.
At a news conference at the State Capitol today, members of CCPE urged the governor and legislators to create the CARES Commission to provide ongoing analysis and recommendations regarding funding and resources needed for students from pre-K through high school.
“The creation of the CARES Commission would allow the state to focus on the needs of our students, to fully fund public education, providing all children with the funding and resources they need to succeed,” said Karissa Niehoff, CCPE Chairperson and Executive Director of the Connecticut Association of Schools.
The state education funding formula must be linked to adequate funding. Given the recent CCJEF v. Rell and other related court decisions, the coalition is urging policymakers to adopt the CARES Commission during this special legislative session to ensure a state education funding formula that is equitable and sustainable.
“The CARES Commission would provide a critical process to help the governor and the legislature as they make crucial decisions about the funding of our public schools,” said Connecticut Association of Boards of Education Executive Director Robert Rader.
Members of the commission would include experts in the fields of education, taxation, and funding equity and would recommend implementation of a funding formula that reflects the true cost of educating students in their districts. The commission would examine disparities, including needs and resources available in school districts, and develop a formula that is stable, reliable, and fair and that includes a specific identified funding source.
“This is the transparent process that Connecticut needs to implement a dependable system for distributing state public education dollars to ensure all of Connecticut’s students thrive, grow, and succeed in school and in life,” said CEA President Sheila Cohen.
The coalition urged politicians to think strategically about Connecticut’s future.
Joe Cirasuolo, Executive Director of the Connecticut Association of Public School Superintendents, stated, “We must act responsibly by listening to real experts who understand the challenges and issues facing our state. Recommendations are needed that best serve the needs of our students, today and for decades to come.”
“Connecticut must use this commission to strengthen our funding system so that it is stable, transparent, and sustainable,” said Connecticut PTA President Kathy Kennedy. “The legislature must act during special session to create this commission and ensure success for our students today, tomorrow, and in the future.”
“All students deserve a multifaceted curriculum that will nurture their natural curiosity, imagination, and desire to learn,” said AFT Connecticut Vice President for Pre K-12 Educators Stephen McKeever. “Even slight changes to how we fund our schools can have a huge impact on their future learning opportunities. We need to be deliberate about what should be a collective effort to ensure all our public schools are adequately and fairly resourced.”
“By creating the CARES Commission, legislators have the opportunity to make that goal a reality,” said Gary Maynard, President of the Connecticut Federation of School Administrators.
CCPE is a statewide coalition consisting of seven separate and diverse associations that advance the academic, social, and emotional growth of students in Connecticut public schools. Members of the coalition are the Connecticut Association of Boards of Education, the Connecticut Association of Public School Superintendents, the Connecticut Association of Schools, the Connecticut Education Association, the Connecticut Federation of School Administrators, the American Federation of Teachers-Connecticut, and the Connecticut Parent Teacher Association.