Connecticut Gov. Malloy Boosts Charter School Funding

Published March 21, 2016

Charter schools will receive increased government support if Connecticut Gov. Dannel Malloy’s (D) proposed budget for fiscal year 2017 passes.

Malloy’s budget proposal increases state aid for public charter schools by $9.3 million and reduces state taxpayers’ funding of traditional local government schools by more than $11 million.

In 2015, Malloy promised state lawmakers he would propose a funding increase for traditional government schools in return for increased funding for charter schools. Malloy’s budget proposal does not include the increased funding for traditional public schools.

Keeping a Promise

Chris Harrington, Connecticut policy manager for the Northeast Charter Schools Network, says Malloy’s budget follows through on a promise he made to the state’s children.

“To be clear, public charter school students do not receive a funding increase in Gov. Daniel Malloy’s proposed budget,” Harrington said. “He proposed following through on promises to charter students.”

Harrington says public charter schools receive less government support per student than traditional government schools.

“Public charter schools [in Connecticut] currently receive nearly $4,000 less in public operating funding per student than traditional district schools.” Harrington said. “If state leaders choose to invest in per-pupil funding to bring it closer to what districts receive, that’s a fair and critical funding increase.”

Harrington says Malloy’s budget proposal doubles down on success.

“Nearly 6,000 students are on waiting lists for public charter schools because they are doing right by kids and communities and offering a pathway to success,” Harrington said. “The governor and state legislators are reacting to that demand by investing in what works.”

More Bang for the Buck

Carol Liebau, president of the Yankee Institute for Public Policy, says charter schools are a better use of taxpayer money than government schools.

“Perhaps Gov. Malloy’s decision is an acknowledgment of the fact that charter schools typically operate more efficiently than their public school counterparts, and funds directed to them do more to offer children trapped in low-performing districts the opportunities that education is supposed to provide,” Liebau said. “They’re receiving an increase, but again, it’s a reflection of their greater success in actually providing students with a quality education.

“Connecticut has the largest achievement gap in the nation; compared to other students, our poor children receive the lowest test scores in the nation,” Liebau said. “It could well be that Gov. Malloy is aware of this and is trying to improve educational outcomes.”

Andrea Dillon ([email protected]) writes from Holly Springs, North Carolina.