Democratic Governor Dannel Malloy when mayor of Stamford often complained his city did not receive it’s fair share of state education aid.
It’s a frequent complaint of Fairfield County lawmakers, who argue the current Education Cost Sharing formula unfairly penalizes them for their wealth without taking other issues into consideration.
Now – as promised earlier this year - the Malloy administration is moving forward with a study of ECS, today announcing the formation of a special task force to take up the matter.
However, the group’s deadlines have been pushed back, with a draft report due in January and a final report due in October 2012.
Malloy in his February budget address had previously said he’d convene a task force at the end of the 2010-11 school year, hoping to have its report in hand by this coming October in order to craft legislation for the 2012 session of the General Assembly.
“We also need to recognize that the ECS formula needs to be overhauled. It’s broken, and we all know it,” Malloy said in his February speech. “To that end, I will soon be reaching out to legislative leadership and relevant stakeholders to form a committee to recommend smart steps we can take to overhaul the way we fund local schools. I’ll ask this committee to begin convening at the end of the school year, and to report back to me on October first. And then I’ll seek to take that report and turn it into legislation in the next session. We need to fix this formula once and for all, and we will.”
To be fair, co-chairman Ben Barnes – who is Malloy’s budget chief – has had a lot on his plate, what with the state unions having rejected a $1.6 billion concessions deal in June and Malloy ordering massive cuts and layoffs as a result.
Here’s the full press release Malloy issued today:
GOV. MALLOY ANNOUNCES MEMBERS OF ECS TASK FORCE
Group will study effectiveness of ECS, submit initial recommendations before start of next legislative session
(HARTFORD, CT) – Governor Dannel P. Malloy today announced the members of a newly-formed task force that will review the effectiveness of the state’s Education Cost Sharing (ECS) grant and how it relates to state constitutional requirements. The group, whose membership was appointed by Governor Malloy and legislative leaders, will develop recommendations on possible ways to change how money is divided up by school district.
“It is our responsibility to routinely review the distribution of education grants to municipalities to ensure that communities are receiving a fair share of dollars under grant distribution rules, especially in light of constitutional requirements. Unfortunately, it has been quite a while since the state last had a thorough review of this system,” Governor Malloy said. “We must ensure this formula focuses on improving educational outcomes for all of our students, regardless in which city or town they live.”
The Governor continued, “As I’ve said before, much more needs to be done to improve the education our children are receiving in this state, and I intend on focusing the 2012 legislative session on education issues, concerns and ways in which we can better prepare our students for a global economy.”
In addition to focusing on the ECS formula, the group will also consider state grants to interdistrict magnet schools and regional agricultural science and technology centers as well as special education costs for the state and municipalities. Under state statute, the group is required to submit an initial report on its findings and recommendations by January 2, 2012 and its final report by October 1, 2012.
Membership of the Task Force to Study State Funding for Education in the Context of State Constitutional Requirements:
- Governor’s selection: Benjamin Barnes (Co-Chair) – Secretary, Office of Policy and Management
- Governor’s selection: Dudley Williams – Director of District Education Strategy, GE Asset Management, former Assistant to the Commissioner, Department of Education
- Governor’s selection: Portia Bonner, Ph.D. – Educational Consultant, Wolcott Public Schools, former Superintendent of Schools, City of New Bedford, Massachusetts
- Governor’s selection: Theodore Sergi, Ph.D. – Former Commissioner, Department of Education
- Governor’s selection: Dr. Elsa Núñez – President, Eastern Connecticut State University
- Governor’s selection: Len Miller – Certified Public Accountant, Co-founder of the Fairfield County Collaborative Alliance, Treasurer of Kids in Crisis, former Chair of Stamford Achieves
- President Pro Tempore’s selection: Senator Andrea Stillman (Co-Chair) – Co-Chair, Education Committee
- Senate Majority Leader’s selection: Senator Toni Harp – Co-Chair, Appropriations Committee
- House Speaker’s selection: Mark Benigni – Superintendent of Schools, City of Meriden
- House Majority Leader’s selection: Mary Loftus-Levine – Executive Director, Connecticut Education Association
- Senate Minority Leader’s selection: William Davenport – Agriscience teacher, Nonnewaug High School in Woodbury, Director of the Ellis Clark Regional Agriscience & Technology Program
- House Minority Leader’s selection: Representative Michael Molgano – Member, Education and Finance, Revenue & Bonding Committees