Student-Centered Funding System

Jan 27, 2021

School + State Finance Project Original Content

Although positive steps have been taken by the General Assembly over the past few years to improve how Connecticut funds K-12 public education, the state’s education finance system remains inequitable, disjointed, and inadequate for addressing the systemic racial disparities and wide gaps found in Connecticut education funding.

These longstanding challenges are why we are working collaboratively with legislative, education, community, and municipal stakeholders across the state to advance a student-centered funding system that:

  • Eliminates the Education Cost Sharing (ECS) formula’s phase-in schedule and fully funds all districts beginning in FY 2022;
  • Increases and expands the ECS formula’s existing weights for English Learners and students in districts with concentrated poverty;
  • Expands the ECS formula to include all Connecticut public school students while protecting funding for local public schools; and
  • Significantly strengthens and improves the ECS formula while keeping intact the formula’s overall structure.

By making these improvements to the ECS formula, the student-centered funding system would:

  • Reduce Connecticut’s racial funding disparity gap by 74 percent (or $476 million) from $639 million to $163 million;
  • Invest nearly $421 million more in K-12 public education over current funding levels, including $317 million more for local and regional public schools, $67 million more for RESC interdistrict magnet schools, and $37 million more for state charter schools;
  • Increase the fully-funded grant amount for 175 of Connecticut’s 180 local and regional public school districts compared to their current estimated fully-funded ECS grant amounts;
  • Fund all public school students based on their learning needs;
  • Provide an immediate infusion of state funding for Connecticut’s neediest students by eliminating the formula's current statutorily scheduled phase-in;
  • Provide an additional $1,152 (for a total of $14,406) for each English Learner by increasing the ECS formula’s English Learner weight from 15 percent to 25 percent;
  • Increase the formula’s concentrated poverty weight from 5 percent to 15 percent to provide an additional $1,152 (for a total of $16,711) for each economically disadvantaged student attending a school district with concentrated poverty;
  • Lower the eligibility threshold of the concentrated poverty weight from 75 percent to 60 percent to increase necessary funding for the state’s highest-need districts; and
  • Eliminate the tangled web of inequitable grants and formulas currently used to support other types of public schools by creating one statewide, equitable education finance formula based on student and community need.

For more information about our student-centered funding system proposal, check out our one-pagers and presentation.

Citation for Visual One-Pager

School and State Finance Project. (2021). Policy Proposal: Student-Centered Funding. New Haven, CT: Author. Retrieved from

Citation for Detailed One-Pager

School and State Finance Project. (2021). A Student-Centered Funding System. New Haven, CT: Author. Retrieved from

Citation for Presentation

School and State Finance Project. (2021). The Path to Progress: Equitable Funding for All Students [PowerPoint slides]. New Haven, CT: Author. Retrieved from

  • School + State Finance Project Reports
  • Education Cost Sharing (ECS) Formula
  • Education Funding (Connecticut)