December 11, 2007
ECS FORMULA CHANGE FOR INTERDISTRICT
By: Judith Lohman, Chief Analyst
You asked how PA 07-3, June Special Session, changes the Education Cost Sharing (ECS) formula with respect to students attending interdistrict magnet schools.
PA 07-3, JSS, made many significant changes in the ECS formula that distributes state education aid to towns. Among them was a change in how students attending interdistrict magnet schools are counted for purposes of calculating ECS grants for their home districts.
One key factor in the ECS formula is each district's count of resident students, weighted for educational and economic need. Starting in FY 09, the new law reduces this “need student” count by 25% of the number of full-time students from each town who attend interdistrict magnet schools that receive state magnet school operating grants. Previously and in FY 08, students who attend interdistrict magnet schools are fully included in ECS student counts. Although this change reduces grants for towns with students attending interdistrict magnet schools on a full-time basis, the new law also requires that every district receive an FY 09 ECS grant that is at least 4.4% more than its FY 08 grant. The minimum increase reduces the impact of the reduction in the magnet school student count in FY 09.
PA 07-3, JSS, also requires the State Department of Education, by October 1, 2007, to notify local school boards to anticipate that each district's need student count in FY 10 will be reduced by 50% of its students attending interdistrict magnet schools full-time. To implement such a reduction, the General Assembly must adopt additional statutory language.