The Board of Education for the Consolidated School District of New Britain has responded to a call for action from the Connecticut Coalition for Justice in Education Funding (CCJEF) by passing a resolution urging the state’s Education Cost Sharing (ECS) Task Force to recommend proper education funding levels. At the Board of Education’s meeting on Monday, October 17, the board voted in favor of a resolution to reaffirm its strong opposition to “money follows the child” or any new ECS formula that would take valuable and scarce local resources out of our local public school system.
A “money follows the child” formula could have devastating effects in New Britain. In Connecticut, it would mean less funding for local schools because dollars would have to be spread further to include charter schools, and possibly magnet schools. Such a formula would divert tax dollars away from traditional public schools when parents enroll their children elsewhere in publicly funded, but privately controlled charter schools.
Board of Education President Sharon Beloin-Saavedra said the Board has been flat-funded for the past three years. No new monies and a redistribution of current funding levels could devastate an already cash-strapped district.
“How can the state and federal government continue to use the buzz phrase of ‘closing the achievement gap’ with no concrete direction and funding source to provide students what they need to mitigate the factors that contribute to that gap?” she asked. “Choice schools do not always out-perform traditional public schools, so increasing choice by increasing charters and magnets is not the big-picture solution for the majority of students who will continue to receive their education in a traditional public school.”
The Board’s resolution encourages the ECS Task Force to focus their attention on equalizing the playing field for all children by providing the necessary resources district by district and child by child. As the state moves forward to implement the common core and secondary school reform, the Board believes that the obligation to fund that change and ensuring that all students have equal access and equal opportunities to succeed is through the ECS allocation.