While there have been many cuts to state funding that impact Ridgefield, the BOE feels that the two funding sources outlined below shift financial burdens to town budgets and have the largest adverse impact in the Ridgefield community:
Education Cost Sharing (ECS) grant: The state legislature has established ECS to distribute approximately $2 billion in state education funding to local public school districts. The formula is based on factors: resident student count, number of low-income students, wealth of the city/town to determine how much the town can raise from its property taxes to pay education costs, and how much state funding is needed to help offset these costs.
- The grant reimbursement is revenue to the town budget, not the BOE operating budget.
- In FY17 that funding to Ridgefield was cut to $571,648. Under the governor’s proposal, it will be $0 in FY18. That’s a significant cut.
Excess Cost Reimbursement (ECR) grant: The ECR grant helps towns alleviate the financial burden of providing services to special needs students whose individual services cost more than four and half times the cost of educating a typical student. These grants do not fully reimburse school districts for all of the special education costs, and instead cover only a certain reimbursable percentage that fluctuates from year to year.
- The grant reimbursement is revenue on the BOE budget and the BOE budgets net of the projected reimbursement amount.
- In Ridgefield, the recent historical average is about 77%. Under the new proposal that reimbursement percentage would be on a sliding scale from 0-55%, and Ridgefield has heard that we will be on the lower end of that scale, probably even at 0% reimbursement. This will be an enormous cut.