On Wednesday, October 7th, the Connecticut State Board of Education (Board) held its monthly meeting. This meeting was televised and is available on-demand online here. The meeting agenda can be found here. One charter item regarding funding for Stamford Excellence was identified in the Budget Options section.

This month’s agenda included:

Today’s meeting included one public comment. The Board did not have an executive session.

The Commissioner’s update included:

  • Information on back to school visits with the Lt. Governor

  • CABE back to school meetings

  • Visits to districts

  • Conferences attended or participated in

  • Meetings with various education partners

  • Recognition of National Blue Ribbon Schools

The Commissioner also reported on recent school-reported cases of COVID-19, with a total of 544 cases reported by 94 districts since 8/27 and 159 cases from 10/1 to 10/7. For the week of Sept 21-25, on district learning models, 34% are fully in person, nearly 60% are hybrid and 6% are fully remote. On participation, about 31% are fully remote and 96% of fully remote are engaged (connected).

The Board unanimously passed the Firearm Safety Guide for Schools, Connecticut Comprehensive School Counseling Framework Position Statement and Inclement Weather During the COVID-19 Pandemic and the Provision of Hybrid and/or Remote Learning Models. The approval of the Educator Preparation Program for the University of Connecticut for American Sign Language Education and 19-20 and 20-21 annual audit plans were on the consent agenda and also passed unanimously.

On the Budget Options agenda item, the Office of Policy and Management (OPM) directed state agencies to reduce their budgets by 10% for FY21. The State Department of Education therefore proposed reallocation options to the Board. One option requested $1.22 million in FY22 and $1.89 million in FY23 for expansion of the grade configuration for Stamford Charter School for Excellence to become a full PK-8 school. In light of this school’s request as well as the closure of two other Stamford charter schools, this proposal was put forth for consideration. Per the Department, the State Board must first approve a material change to Stamford Excellence’s charter and then the legislature must approve funding. Other reallocation options proposed included:

  • Reallocation of $3.2 million from one type of bilingual education account to another

  • Reallocation of $5.2 million from the magnet school account to the Sheff transportation account

Some board members expressed concern with the charter reallocation proposal, articulating that the legislature should first allocate the seats prior to the Board approving these changes and that such changes should go before the Legislation and Policy subcommittee of the Board.

Ultimately, because the Board had additional questions on the options and wanted more time, it postponed a decision on the budget options until either the next board meeting or a special board meeting in order to meet the necessary state budget timelines from OPM. More information about these proposed transfers can be found here.