Public schools across the US are struggling to cope with a funding shortfall as they struggle to find enough funding to keep up with the demand for higher education.
Public funding for higher-education institutions, which cover students from private schools, has been reduced across the country, but the situation in Connecticut is different.
In Connecticut, the funding shortfall is so great that the state’s public education commissioner, James Conley, has proposed that public schools spend at least 10% of their budgets on public services, including salaries, transportation and the upkeep of buildings.
But, he said, the money isn’t there.
“This is not a funding crisis,” he said.
“We’re spending more than the national average for the same amount of dollars, but we’re not spending enough.
So it’s not like we’re being overspending on services or anything like that.
We’re trying to make sure that we have enough resources to cover all the costs of our students.”
The state also has a plan to increase funding for community colleges, but it has been pushed back by Congress, which has not yet committed to passing a law to do so.
“The funding is going to be tight, and it’s going to have to be adjusted, so the state is really in the position of trying to be flexible,” said David Rennie, president of the Connecticut Association of Community Colleges, which represents more than 50,000 community colleges.
The federal government’s latest financial aid figures released in June showed that the number of students in public and private schools had increased by 1.9% between 2007 and 2019, but that the amount of money available for higher ed institutions has not increased.
Rennie said he was concerned that Connecticut was seeing an over-reliance on private institutions and said he worried about the financial situation for the state.
He added that the schools in his state, like the ones he oversees, are facing “massive financial pressures” and needed to be ready to provide better care for students.
New York, the state with the most expensive public school system in the country at $7,200 per pupil, also has an overstretched system.
Statewide, the total number of enrolled students in private schools dropped by 4% between 2015 and 2019.
But the number enrolled in public schools rose by 8% over the same period.
This is happening in the same states as the financial crisis.
In 2014, the public schools in the state were underfunded by $7.5 billion.
That was almost the entire state’s total budget for the year, and the total shortfall was about $8 billion, or about half the budget of Connecticut.