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Letter: The next fight for education funding

To the Editor:

As state representatives of Norwalk, one of our foremost concerns is the funding of public schools. Bringing education funding back from Hartford means dealing with the Education Cost Sharing (ECS) formula, which determines how much each town and city receives in state aid for education.

Unfortunately, the flawed ECS formula has been an especially large problem for the city of Norwalk. The ECS determines a municipality’s wealth based on the grand list instead of median income. Due to this flaw, and economics of Norwalk/Stamford area, this makes our city seem wealthier than it actually is and thus disproportionately underfunded.

We have continuously worked around the system, getting Norwalk more money where we can. Over our years in office we have brought home an additional $4 million in education funding and added over 100 additional pre-K seats to help our youngest students. We have created the state’s first Early College Academy known as Pathways in Technology Early College High School (P-TECH). P-TECH is an innovative partnership between Norwalk Public Schools, IBM, and Norwalk Community College that will provide students with a high school diploma and a free associate degree. Norwalk’s state delegation has gotten money and programming from outside what the ECS dictates but we’ve maxed out an inherently flawed system. We will continue to work for the good of Norwalk schools no matter the constraints but we need to find a long-term solution to this broken formula.

We have always been avid supporters of the Connecticut Coalition for Justice in Education Funding (CCJEF) and their fight in the case of CCJEF v. Rell. This Connecticut Supreme Court case is about getting more money to fund public schools and fixing the broken formula. We applaud the legal work that has been done on behalf of Norwalk, and Mayor Rilling for joining the lawsuit. It is a much-needed step in order to guarantee that Norwalk gets the appropriate education funding.

We need a resolution in the courts that favors Norwalk. We want to see these reforms to create a truly fair and equitable system.

State Rep. Bruce Morris (D-140)

State Rep. Chris Perone (D-137)

Comments

2 responses to “Letter: The next fight for education funding”

  1. EveT

    Thanks, Rep. Perone and Rep. Morris. Good letter laying out the facts and showing what you’ve been able to accomplish despite the ECS deck being stacked against Norwalk.
    There’s an argument for “new blood,” but any challenger needs to actually be an *improvement* over the incumbent. Change for the sake of change risks change for the worse.
    I hope voters will re-elect both of you, as you’ve done an excellent job throughout your years in office.

  2. Auntie Mae

    Fight? Is violence this accepted in our culture that we now routinely use these terms, loosely, to describe such an important issue? How about Working toward equity in education or struggle for fair tax distribution or campaigning for education or building a coalition for education, or even justice but fight? Who are ya all fighting and whoever you want to fight, why are they not for children’s equal education and America’s future?

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