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Education Funding Formula Needs Upgrading

Michael Griffith from the Education Commission of the States presented to the ECS Task Force yesterday.

Connecticut is below the New England average in public education spending per pupil, and it also spends less than New York and New Jersey.

That’s what the Education Cost Sharing Task Force heard yesterday from Michael Griffith, senior finance analyst with the Education Commission of the States, a nonpartisan education policy group that provides funding information to policymakers in 49 states.

Griffith told the panel that funding formulas need to be updated, reviewed, and readjusted based on increased costs and economic changes.

“Never put funding formulas in place thinking they will be forever,” said Griffith.

He gave the analogy of a garden. You plant it, but you must continue to care for it, and weed it constantly in order for it to be successful.

Griffith cautioned about potential problems that come with sending local tax dollars out of the community and away from neighborhood public schools.

“There is a lot of local pushback when communities find out that their money is going outside of the district,” he said.

The task force is working on prioritizing a list of nearly 50 recommendations in order to present an interim report to Governor Malloy in January.

The group is scheduled to meet again on Jan. 5.

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