(802) 780-0266 info@cvtse.org PO Box 1967, West Dover, VT 05356


Who We Are

The Coalition for Vermont Student Equity is composed of member school districts/supervisory unions and school board members from various communities and districts across the state. While we come from communities that couldn’t look more different from one another, we have come together around our common belief that all of Vermont's children deserve equitable educational opportunities. But Vermont’s education funding methodology is outdated and must be corrected in order to provide these equitable educational opportunities to all of Vermont’s kids. We believe that education is a key component in helping children thrive and succeed and that education provides huge benefits economically to our state by ensuring we have a skilled and well-educated workforce.


In 2018/2019, at the behest of the Vermont Legislature, a group of nationally recognized experts in education research from UVM, Rutgers and National Institute for Research conducted a study of the weighting factors (how students with different needs are counted to determine the differential cost of educating them) used in Vermont’s education funding formula. This thorough report was delivered to the legislature in 2019 and concluded that the current pupil weights are outdated (over 20 years old), do not appear to be based on any scientific study, and do not reflect the contemporary costs to educate children who require additional resources. The report also provided specific recommendations to update and improve the weights used to determine “equalized pupils”, a key measure in the state’s education funding formula. The report concluded that our children who live in poverty, in rural communities, attend small schools and who are New American English Language Learners are not being provided with adequate resources to help them keep up with their peers. The report went beyond documenting the problem by also providing a conclusive solution and recommending new weights to be used in the funding formula to provide educational equity across districts.

Our Accomplishments

The Pupil Weighting Factors Report was delivered to the legislature in 2019. Soon after this, COVID-19 sent the general assembly home, and they quickly pivoted to working remotely. The issue of the weights was not taken up again until the first half of the 21-22 Biennium, with two bills dealing with the issue, H.54 and S.13, being introduced. CVTSE faced an uphill battle from the get go, with many legislators stating that this issue was too complex to take up during a remote session. Our efforts to get a bill passed out of the senate ahead of legislative crossover date (when a bill must cross over to the other legislative body for consideration or will otherwise remain dead for the session) seemed to be for nothing when legislative leadership was quoted in VTDigger saying there would not be a bill out before crossover. However, CVTSE and all of our wonderful, active members did not give up. With our perseverance, we were indeed able to get S.13 out of the Senate before the deadline. The bill as it left the Senate set up a taskforce to implement the recommendations. However, it left a dangerously broad scope of work for the task force to choose to undertake, giving them explicit permission to drop and modify certain weights altogether and charging them with looking at broader reforms relating to education funding, for example.

CVTSE undertook a major outreach push to the House and we were able to successfully narrow the scope of S.13. The ability to drop and modify weights, for example, was removed, as was the language charging the task force with looking at broader reforms in the education funding system. We also saw the addition of a two year moratorium on the excess spending threshold added to the bill. During the final days of the session, we also put a lot of effort toward encouraging the Senate to concur with the House’s changes, which they eventually did. Finally, we successfully lobbied the governor’s office which resulted not simply in a bill that he let pass, but one that he endorsed with his signature.

CVTSE believes in using our collective experiences and voices to act as a resource for the legislative and executive branches of government, as they do this work. We believe that once they hear all the facts of our lived experiences, they won’t be able to help but do the right thing.

What Are We Asking For

Our Coalition is advocating that the legislature adopt the recommendations of the Pupil Weighting Factors Report during the current, 2021/2022, legislative biennium. By finally correcting the flawed formula, districts that have been suffering for decades under the incorrect weights will finally have their fair share of an equitably distributed education fund.

Why This Cannot Wait

While our coalition recognizes the difficulty of “legislating over Zoom”, we respectfully reject the premise that this is too difficult or too massive to implement this year. As mandate after mandate is passed down to school districts from the state, as our children are facing immense challenges of learning in the midst of the pandemic, the existing inequities are growing. We at the frontlines of our districts see the harm being experienced by our children because of this outdated system on a daily basis. The legislature must act now to adopt the recommendations made in the Pupil Weighting Factors Report of 2019. The state has the constitutional obligation to provide equity in education, yet the current system penalizes students depending on where they live. The state formula with its current arbitrary weights incentivizes increased spending for children with the least needs (wealthy large districts) and decreased spending for students with the most needs (poor, rural and ELL districts).