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

NEWS

VT Education Formula: Systemic Racism and Classism

The current formula we use in Vermont to calculate student need and then allocate resources is a prime example of systemic racism and classism. It under counts how much it costs to educate children who come from poverty, are English language learners, and children who attend small and rural schools. This means that low-income and diverse communities that are home to these schools must cut their school spending in order to pass their budgets, or they must raise the additional dollars off of the backs of their mostly low-income tax payers.

Because the state refuses to acknowledge the actual cost of educating these learners, struggling communities are unable to access the resources they desperately need. These struggling districts are not the exception, either. These districts are the majority of districts in Vermont. It is the large, homogeneous and well-off districts that are in the minority and have been receiving more than their fair share of access to resources for over 20 years.

#vtpoli #vted #FixTheFormula #equity

CVTSE Reacts to Task Force Proposal to Eliminate ELL from Pupil Weighting Formula

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Monday, October 11, 2021

Contact: 

Marc Schauber

802-780-0266

marc@cvtse.org

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.

Please watch our recent press conference featuring Nicole Mace, Rory Thibault and Rights & Democracy among others.

CVTSE Holds Press Conference at State Capitol

CVTSE Logo

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

September 30, 2021

Contact: Marc Schauber

marc@cvtse.org

802-780-0266

A COALITION OF VERMONTERS HOLDS PRESS CONFERENCE ON SCHOOL FUNDING INEQUITY

Montpelier, Vt., — The Coalition for Vermont Student Equity (CVTSE) today held a press conference to highlight how Vermont is currently failing its moral and constitutional obligations to ensure that all children in Vermont, regardless of where they live, have access to equitable educational opportunities. 

In 2019, a study commissioned by the Vermont Legislature and conducted by the University of Vermont and Rutgers University concluded that Vermont does not accurately account for the actual costs of educating children who come from poverty, children who require English language learning services and children who attend rural and small schools. The study also documented exactly how to accurately account for these costs and bring equity across Vermont’s K-12 school system. The Task Force on the Implementation of the Pupil Weighting Factors Report was established this year to meet over the summer and fall months to address the systemic inequity in Vermont’s education funding formula.

“The UVM/Rutgers study provides us with a clear and empirical basis for setting pupil weights,” said Rory Thibault, Chair of the Cabot School Board. “I urge the Task force to adopt the weighting recommendations as this is the only means to truly address the inequity that the majority of Vermont’s districts face.” 

The eight-member legislative task force has been considering two options: Correcting the weights as recommended in the UVM/Rutgers report, or using grants known as “categorical aid”. CVTSE strongly opposes the use of categorical aid in place of correcting the flawed funding formula. 

“Thank you for taking the time to serve on this important task force,” said Dan Fingas, Vermont State Organizing Director of Rights & Democracy. “As staff, members and supporters of Rights & Democracy, we feel it is imperative to voice our strong support for correcting the pupil weighting systems in Vermont, rather than considering categorical aid. This is the only option that will advance equity in Vermont’s education funding formula and in our overall public education system. 

“Because the amount of categorical aid would be unknown year to year, staffing would be subject to greater instability, which may discourage teachers from taking positions in high poverty school districts like Winooski,” said Nicole Mace, Winooski School District’s Business Manager. “Categorical aid would also mean a tax increase for everyone. Even underweighted districts like Winooski would have to contribute taxes into categorical aid.”

Recently, the task force held a public hearing to listen to the perspectives and concerns of Vermonters regarding this critical issue. Notably, 100 percent of public commenters, nearly 40 people, urged the task force to reject the categorical aid approach and instead correct the flawed funding formula.      

“As an educator of over 30 years and someone who has worked in overweighted districts and who lives in an underweighted district, I have a unique perspective and I have seen firsthand the effects of this inequitable funding formula,” said Martine Gulick, who serves as a Burlington School District Commissioner. “For example, I have seen the ease with which overweighted districts can add staff to their schools and create positions that allow them to meet education quality standards. I have personally experienced working in a library with a budget 10 times that of the library in my local high school. I have seen staff in underweighted districts doing the work of two or three staff members in an overweighted district.”

By December 15, 2021, the task force must submit a written report to the legislature with its action plan and proposed legislation which will then be taken up by the full legislature during the 2022 Legislative Session. 

“I am asking that we place our Vermont values first in this conversation: since the Brigham decision in 1997 we have recognized the importance of bringing equitable educational opportunities to all students,” said Thibault. “The Task Force and legislature have the opportunity to align our education finance system with these values.”

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State Rep. Emilie Kornheiser Reminds Us: Correcting the Weights is good for “all of us.”

Thank you, Representative Emilie Kornheiser of Brattleboro, VT for highlighting how critical it is that we continue to strive for educational equity in VT. CVTSE believes that the time to right this wrong and correct the weights is long overdue.

#vtpoli #Vted #FixTheFormula #Equity

Coalition for Vermont Student Equity @VermontStudent

Vermont State Rep. Emilie Kornheiser, D-Brattleboro @ekkornheiser

Coalition for Vermont Student Equity Thanks You!

Thank you to every single commenter at this week’s public hearing. Each of you took the time to let the legislature know how you feel. 100% of the public comments made were in support of fixing the flawed funding formula.

The message is clear: Vermonters believe every child in our state deserves a good education, regardless of where they live or how much money their family makes.

Coalition for Vermont Student Equity @VermontStudent

#Vtpoli #Vted #FixTheFormula #equity