On Wednesday, September 2nd, the Connecticut State Board of Education held its monthly meeting. This meeting was televised and is available on-demand online here. The meeting agenda can be found here.

Meeting Agenda

This month’s agenda included:

Today’s meeting did not include public participation or an executive session.

Commissioner’s update

The Commissioner’s update included brief updates on:

  • Press conferences that the Commissioner has joined with Governor Lamont recently

  • Reopening and impact of COVID on the state’s education system

  • Recent media events

  • Meetings with various education partners

  • Reopening informational briefings with legislators

  • Back-to-school events

Also during this briefing, the Commissioner discussed the State Department of Education’s guidance and reopening plan and progress as schools ramp back up for the fall.

Lastly, the Commissioner highlighted a few reopening updates:

  • How school opening and closing decisions are being made and going overall, including specific discussions on New Haven and Danbury

  • At this time approximately 58% of districts are looking to go in-person immediately or within the first four weeks of school, the remaining percent almost entirely hybrid

  • SDE is working to track student attendance and how students are attending school on a weekly basis to better identify student enrollment

  • An update on the Department’s five-year goal setting

Fiscal Items

With respect to the fiscal items on the agenda, state agencies must submit a current services budget request to the Office of Policy and Management (OPM) that provides estimates of expenditures for each fiscal year of the next biennium.

The Department of Education provided its current services budget to the State Board. Under this budget, the Department described two changes to charter schools funding:

1) The state charter school account will see a net negative adjustment of $3.9 million in FY 2022 due to the closure of Trailblazers Academy and Stamford Academy and the addition of 60 seats at Booker T. Washington Academy for enrollment of the next grade level. In FY 2023 the Department requests $382,500 to add 34 seats at Booker T. Washington to complete grade growth. By FY 2023, state charter school enrollment is estimated to be 10,762.

2) The local charter school Elm City Montessori (New Haven) seeks to add 54 seats for grade-level growth in FY 2022 and 35 seats in FY 2023. An additional $162,000 in FY 2022 and an additional $105,000 in FY 2023 will be needed to accommodate this growth.

Additionally, each biennium, state agencies are required to submit capital budget requests to the Office of Policy and Management and the Governor reviews requests for inclusion in the Capital Budget Request for approval by the General Assembly. On the capital services budget request for fiscal years 21-22 and 22-23, the Department requested $2.5 million to “support charter schools with capital expenses, including school building projects, general improvements and repayment of debt incurred for school building projects.”

Both Department budgets were approved by the State Board unanimously.

Upcoming Meetings

Finally, the State Board agreed to move the November State Board meeting to an evening meeting after discussing that a morning meeting the day after Election Day would be challenging for folks to be able to attend.