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

NEWS

CVTSE Executive Director Testifies in front of Task Force

VLCT Advocates for Implementation of Corrected Weights

Memo


Date: August 27, 2021


To: Taskforce on the Implementation of the Pupil Weighting Factors Report


From: Karen Horn, Director, Public Policy and Advocacy


Re: Pupil Weighting Taskforce Report Recommendations


I am writing to you on behalf of the 246 member cities and towns of the Vermont League of
Cities and Towns to urge you to implement the recommendations of the Pupil Weighting
Factors Report. On April 28, we wrote to the chairs of the House Ways and Means and
House Education committees to urge them to ensure that the task force created by S.13
(Act 59) be directed to “first implement the recommendations of the Pupil Weighting
Factors Report and do so in a way that it does not result in substantial increases in
education property tax rates across the state.”


Act 59 established an eight-member Task Force on the Implementation of the Pupil
Weighting Factors Report and charged it to recommend an action plan and legislation to
ensure that all public school students have equitable access to education. Addressing the
inequities in the current pupil weighting system by applying categorical aid to compensate
for its shortcomings and inequities resolves none of the issues identified in the report. It
would require more dollars be dedicated to education funding – dollars that, over time,
would be raised from increased education property taxes – and require school districts to
wait every year for the legislature to decide what to contribute to new categorical aid
obligations.


On August 6, Winooski Mayor Kristine Lott wrote to you saying, “I know the task force has
discussed a categorical funding approach instead of correcting the weighting. Allowing the
weighting to remain inaccurate and inequitable and instead adding additional revenue is an
inefficient and expensive solution that does a disservice to our commitment to equity in
education.”


We cannot support additional property taxes being dedicated to the Education Fund for
equalizing historic inequities and we support Mayor Lott’s analysis. We urge you to do the
difficult work of implementing the recommendations of the Pupil Weighting Factors Report.

Vermont League of Cities & Towns

89 Main Street
Suite 4
Montpelier, Vermont
05602-2948

Voice: 802-229-9111
Fax: 802-229-2211
info@vlct.org

www.vlct.org

Equitable distribution; Not higher taxes

Vermonters don’t need higher taxes statewide to pay for targeted aid to struggling districts. There is sufficient money in the system already. How it’s being distributed, however, is inequitable. Districts that need the most help are not being adequately funded.

In order to bring true equity to the system, the legislature must correct the flawed education funding formula so that all districts receive their fair share. #FixTheFormula #Vtpoli #Vted #equity

Burlington and Winooski School Districts have a Message…

CVTSE members Burlington and Winooski School Districts have had their pupils undercounted for the purpose of distributing Vermont education funds for over two decades. This is because they serve many students who are English language learners and many from low-income households. They aren’t alone. A 2019 education research study conducted by UVM and Rutgers also identified rural and small schools as having their pupils seriously undercounted for purposes of distributing education funds. The majority of Vermont schools have been on the losing side of this flawed formula.

Some people suggest that to address these long standing inequities, we should add additional money into our system and target it towards the undercounted districts, such as districts with a large population of ELL or low-income students. But we know from experience that this type of targeted aid is unreliable, as its parameters are subject to change from year to year. Districts cannot do long term planning or hire proper staff when they don’t have funding they can count on year after year. Instead of raising additional funds, we have an elegant solution that does not require additional revenue and comes directly from the 2019 UVM/Rutgers study. We are asking the legislature to please #FixTheFormula and bring #equity to all Vermont children.

Burlington, VT is a Refugee Resettlement City

Implementing the correct student weights would allow the Burlington District to: • Hire more multilingual liaisons and be able to pay them year around for the great demands on their time. • We could increase training and offer stipends for teachers to improve engagement with families, including conducting home visits in the summer and after hours. • We could increase funding for pre-K, so that we could offer more classes with increased staffing. • We could implement our own equitable funding model. • We could add much needed special education teachers, counselors, social workers, EL teachers, paraeducators and specialists to support our students in a more inclusive setting.

#Vtpoli #FixTheFormula #Vted #equity

WCAX: Education Finance Reform Efforts this Fall

Vermont lawmakers to pick up education finance reform efforts this fall (Video) https://www.wcax.com/2021/07/22/vermont-lawmakers-pick-up-education-finance-reform-efforts-this-fall/

MONTPELIER, Vt. (WCAX) – By Calvin Cutler Equal opportunity in education will be on the front burner for Vermont lawmakers in the coming months as they dig into the perennial issue of education finance reform.

Funding for public schools is allocated out of the State Education Fund on a per-pupil basis. The funding formula is complex and includes a “weighting” system to increase funding for students who are more expensive to teach, including students from low-income areas and English language learners…

Please see link above for the complete video and article.

Appearance by: Marc Schauber, Executive Director of CVTSE