CVTSE Reacts to Task Force Proposal to Eliminate ELL from Pupil Weighting Formula
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Monday, October 11, 2021
STATEMENT BY THE COALITION FOR VERMONT STUDENT EQUITY ON LEGISLATIVE PROPOSAL TO REMOVE ENGLISH LANGUAGE LEARNERS FROM THE PUPIL WEIGHTING FORMULA
A legislative task force that has been meeting over the summer and fall to implement the 2019 Pupil Weighting Factors Report decided on Friday to take an approach that has no empirical basis. Vermont uses pupil weighting to determine and address funding for student needs across the state. We now know, thanks to a study conducted by the University of Vermont and Rutgers University, that our pupil weighting formula is unequivocally wrong and has been punishing struggling school districts for over 20 years. CVTSE is advocating for correcting this formula as recommended by UVM and Rutgers. This is a verified and data based solution to the documented school funding inequity in Vermont. A proposal today offered by the task force would remove English language learners from this formula altogether, and fund them with grants, essentially funding them as a separate system of learners. The proposal would give districts $25,000 for one or more English language learning students and then $5,000 for every English Language learning student. These amounts have no empirical basis, yet this is the direction the task force has indicated they will move toward. Members of our coalition who educate English language learners have said time and time again that they will not be helped by these grants. These grants, known as categorical aid, will not address the inequity that is baked into the weighting formula. English language learners, as well as students who come from low-income and rural communities, deserve to be accurately counted and their districts equitably funded. We will continue to advocate for the only solution that has an empirical basis, which is to correct the weighting formula as recommended by UVM and Rutgers. Proposals that try to solve the weighting issue by applying categorical aid are rooted in politics and presented in an effort to appease more affluent districts. Proposals that do not address the weighting formula will not help Vermont’s most struggling school districts.