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Nicki Perkins

Nicki Perkins is the Director of Communications and Development for the Connecticut Council for Education Reform. She began working at CCER as a Graduate Fellow while earning her JD from the University of Connecticut School of Law. During that time, she helped CCER to establish priorities and associated briefs for the 2012 legislative session, and she also conducted research on Connecticut’s then-existing statutory provisions as compared to corresponding statutes from other states. Currently, Nicki manages CCER’s efforts to raise public awareness and garner support for the organization. She also continues to support CCER’s research and policy work.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE–Governor Proposes Changes to School Funding

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
CONTACT: Nicki Perkins
EMAIL: Nicki.perkins@ctedreform.org
PHONE: (203) 506-5799

Hartford, Connecticut – Today, February 8, 2017, Governor Malloy’s budget address addressed, among other issues, changes to the state’s Education Cost Sharing (ECS) formula. State education dollars are supposed to be distributed based on the ECS formula, which has been revised numerous times and is currently not being followed at all. In response to the Governor’s address, Jeffrey Villar—Executive Director of the Connecticut Council for Education Reform (CCER)—made the following statement:

“These proposed changes to ECS are a first step towards solving an important problem in our state. CCER is part of a coalition of education stakeholders that has spent over two years analyzing ECS and contemplating solutions to make it more fair, equitable, and predictable. In line with that coalition’s design principles for improvement, CCER would like to see a new ECS formula based on the following six principles: (1) equitably funding all schools, based on student need; (2) incentivizing innovation and efficiency in support of mastery-based learning; (3) coherence in terms of applicability to all school types; (4) transparency and predictability; (5) fairness in determination of the amount of aid for each community—based on a combination of factors, including multiple measures of property and income conditions, and concentration of low-income students; and (6) transparency of district expenditures, in furtherance of accountability.

“The Governor’s budget indicated a willingness to address many of these principles through measures such as basing the new formula on current enrollment numbers and replacing the current measure for poverty—eligibility for free and reduced priced lunch—for a more precise measure, HUSKY A data.

“In his address, the Governor observed that, ‘education is economic development.’ But if we are truly interested in improving public education so that we can establish a pipeline of skilled and prepared workers in our state, we need to do more than tweak the funding formula. We can’t lose sight of the myriad other issues, raised by the judge in CCJEF v. Rell, that must be resolved if Connecticut students are going to get the education they deserve. Among these issues is that we need to find a more meaningful way of intervening in persistently low-performing districts, ensure that all students are reading at grade-level by third grade, and ensure that when students graduate from high school, they are graduating prepared for success in colleges and careers.

“I feel confident and hopeful that the legislature will engage in meaningful discussions about these and other ideas impacting Connecticut students this legislative session.”

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 About the Connecticut Council for Education Reform

The Connecticut Council for Education Reform (CCER)–a statewide, non-partisan, 501(c)(3) not- for-profit organization–works to close the achievement gap and raise academic outcomes for all students in Connecticut. The achievement gap is the disparity in academic achievement between children from low-income families and children of color, and their peers. We advocate for state policies and local practices that research shows have the best chance of raising achievement for high-need student populations.

For more information on CCER, go to www.ctedreform.org

 

Bristol Press: Malloy to propose new education funding formula

By Skyler Frazer Staff Writer

‘Taken as a whole, this new formula is intended to bring greater accountability and flexibility in a system that hasn’t been making the grade,’ Malloy said.

Jeffrey Villar, executive director of the Connecticut Council for Education Reform, released a statement following Malloy’s press conference in which he supported the governor’s ECS proposals.

‘CCER is optimistic about these proposed changes to ECS. We are part of a coalition of education stakeholders that has spent over two years analyzing ECS and contemplating solutions to make it more fair, equitable, and predictable,’ Villar said in his statement.

Read the full story here.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE–Governor Takes First Step on Education Funding, But More is Needed

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
CONTACT: Nicki Perkins
EMAIL: Nicki.perkins@ctedreform.org
PHONE: (203) 506-5799

New Haven, Connecticut – Today, February 6, 2017, Governor Malloy issued a press release indicating his proposed changes to the state’s Education Cost Sharing (ECS) formula. The ECS formula, which is supposed to be used to determine the distribution of state education dollars to local districts, has been revised numerous times and is currently not being followed at all. In a recent court decision that attracted national attention, CCJEF v. Rell, a judge determined that Connecticut’s current funding formula is unconstitutional because it allocates resources irrationally. Governor Malloy observed in his statement that the state must not wait for further court orders before working to correct this problem. In response to the Governor’s press release, Jeffrey Villar—Executive Director of the Connecticut Council for Education Reform (CCER)—made the following statement:

 

“CCER is optimistic about these proposed changes to ECS. We are part of a coalition of education stakeholders that has spent over two years analyzing ECS and contemplating solutions to make it more fair, equitable, and predictable. In line with that coalition’s design principles for improvement, CCER believes that a new ECS formula must address the following six principles: (1) equitably funding all schools, based on student need; (2) incentivizing innovation and efficiency in support of mastery-based learning; (3) coherence in terms of applicability to all school types; (4) transparency and predictability; (5) fairness in determination of the amount of aid for each community—based on a combination of factors, including multiple measures of property and income conditions, and concentration of low-income students; and (6) transparency of district expenditures, in furtherance of accountability.

“By using HUSKY A data to more accurately measure poverty, and by basing the formula on current enrollment—the Governor’s proposal sounds as though it would begin to address many of these principles.

“However, CCER would also advocate for the points outlined in the coalition’s design principles, such as the consideration of additional funding weights for communities that have high densities of poverty. In addition, the state needs to do more to ensure that all schools, including schools of choice, receive the same levels of funding so that they can meet their students’ needs.

“We look forward to further details of the Governor’s proposal, including the potential impact of de-coupling special education funding, in the coming weeks.”

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 About the Connecticut Council for Education Reform

The Connecticut Council for Education Reform (CCER)–a statewide, non-partisan, 501(c)(3) not- for-profit organization–works to close the achievement gap and raise academic outcomes for all students in Connecticut. The achievement gap is the disparity in academic achievement between children from low-income families and children of color, and their peers. We advocate for state policies and local practices that research shows have the best chance of raising achievement for high-need student populations.

For more information on CCER, go to www.ctedreform.org

 

New Britain Herald: Malloy gives a sneak peek into his budget proposal

By Skyler Frazer Staff Writer

‘Taken as a whole, this new formula is intended to bring greater accountability and flexibility in a system that hasn’t been making the grade,’ Malloy said.

Jeffrey Villar, executive director of the Connecticut Council for Education Reform, released a statement following Malloy’s press conference in which he supported the governor’s ECS proposals.

‘CCER is optimistic about these proposed changes to ECS. We are part of a coalition of education stakeholders that has spent over two years analyzing ECS and contemplating solutions to make it more fair, equitable, and predictable,’ Villar said in his statement.

Read the full story here.

CT Mirror – School funding reform: Ideas and challenges aplenty

By Jacqueline Rabe Thomas

Last week, five advocacy groups with clout at the state Capitol also came together to recommend a cost study. The organizations included the Connecticut Association of Public School Superintendents, the Connecticut Association of Boards of Education, the Connecticut Association of Schools (which represents school principals), the Connecticut Council for Education Reform (a business-backed group), and the Connecticut Coalition for Achievement Now (which advocates for school choice, among other reforms).

“We need to start with what does it really cost to educate every child,” said Joseph J. Cirasuolo, the executive director of the school superintendent’s group, which is part of the coalition suing the state.

Read the full story here.

CT Viewpoints: Six design principles for a new, fair CT school funding formula

While we may disagree on other areas of education policy, on this front we are united in calling for the development of a new, fair, equitable, and predictable school funding formula that supports student learning for every child in a Connecticut public school.

 

To help guide this process, we have come together as a diverse coalition of educators to agree on six principles that any new school funding formula should reflect in its core values…

Read the full piece here.

New Haven Register: Education advocacy groups in New Haven outline ideal ‘core principles’ of future funding formula

For years, representatives of the Connecticut Association of Boards of Education, the Connecticut Coalition for Achievement Now, the Connecticut Association of Public School Superintendents, the Connecticut Association of Schools and the Connecticut Council for Education Reform have said the state’s funding of education is inequitable, an assertion supported by the recent ruling of Superior Court Judge Thomas Moukawsher in CCJEF v. Rell.

Read the full piece here.

CT Post: Education Coalition suggests funding principles

An unlikely coalition of traditional and pro-choice education groups have banded together to pitch guidelines on how the state should revamp its school funding system.

Read the full piece here.

Education Connecticut: Gearing Up for Important School Funding Battle; Education Groups Weigh in on School Formula

The five organizations involved, include; the Connecticut Association of Boards of Education (CABE), the Connecticut Association of Public School Superintendents (CAPSS), the Connecticut Association of Schools (CAS), the Connecticut Coalition for Achievement Now (ConnCAN), and the Connecticut Council for Education Reform (CCER).

The group of organizations emphasized that they weren’t proposing a specific formula, instead, today, they released a joint statement offering six guiding core principles they hope lawmakers should use as a roadmap for developing a new funding system…

Read the full story here.

Hartford Courant (Editorial): Secret Superintendent Evaluations Unacceptable

Jeffrey A. Villar, executive director of the Connecticut Council for Education Reform, called for a balance between privacy and the public’s interest, saying, “There’s a certain level of privacy you give up when you sign on as a superintendent,” he said.

He’s right.

Legislators must align the evaluation process with the spirit of open government.

Read the full piece here.

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