Make Education Funding Equitable in Vermont!

Coalition for Vermont Student Equity Inc 
A Vermont Non-Profit corporation
501(c)4 status pending

Since the 1997 Vermont Supreme Court Brigham decision, which led to the enactment of Act 60 and created the Statewide Education Property Tax, the pupil weighting formula (which is used to determine the amount of funds each district receives from the state's Education Fund,) has not been adjusted to account for differences in the costs for educating students who are economically disadvantaged, English language learners, attend small schools or live in rural areas.

In 2018 the Vermont Legislature recognized that 65 percent of school districts have been harmed by this flawed formula for over two decades. A study commissioned by the Vermont Legislature identified which weights needed to be adjusted and by how much. The study was conducted by a team of nationally renowned researchers from the University of Vermont, Rutgers and American Institute for Research.

On December 24, 2019, the legislature received the Pupil Weighting Factors Report, the result of that study. The researchers were unanimous that the current weights, a leftover relic of the pre-Act 60 days, do not account for the cost differences in educating different students... and the existing weights, "have weak ties, if any, with evidence." This gave Vermonters and their legislators confirmation that our weighting system was broken, and had been for over two decades. The study also provided a road map for how to fix it.

In December of 2020, a group of school board members from disparate districts, having become frustrated with the lack of progress on implementing the recommendations of the Report, joined together to form what ultimately became The Coalition for Vermont Student Equity (CVTSE.) The purpose of CVTSE is to advocate for the implementation of a correct weighting formula.

To date, the Coalition has been quite successful. We currently have 21 member boards from districts ranging from the small and rural to large and urban, and from all parts of the state. School boards across the state continue to join the Coalition, which has hired a lobbyist with extensive knowledge and experience of the Vermont Legislature. It was through this hard work and informed guidance that we saw the legislature pivot from saying no bill could be passed in 2021 to the House and Senate both unanimously supporting legislation known as S.13.

After Governor Phil Scott signed S.13, now known as Act 59, a task force made up of eight legislators was created. They will be working through the summer compiling a report and writing proposed legislation that will be brought to the General Assembly for consideration in January 2022.

We need your help.

The reason is simple... In order to continue to be effective, we need to continue with the winning strategies which have completely turned around the House and Senate thus far.

All donations go directly towards our legislative efforts. The organization has only one employee, myself, the Executive Director, and while in addition to my responsibilities to my own school board, I donate my time to our effort. Our Board members are not paid for their work either. Our overhead expenses are for minimal legal and accounting services. If we could run a leaner organization, we would be doing it. All of our operating costs directly support our entirely volunteer efforts.

To date we've raised a little over $30k, including a couple of significant anonymous donations. This money will cover most, but not all, of our 2021 expenses. For 2022 we will need to continue to sustain our hard work right through the legislative session to make sure that we:

1) Get a bill to implement the corrected weights
2) Get a bill that implements the weights in a way that corrects the formula and brings equity to the pupil weighting formula
3) Are able to get the bill passed by both chambers of the legislature and get it signed by the Governor.

Please consider donating as much or as little as you can. Every penny will help us bring equity to the education funding system after 20+ years of harm that has occurred.


Thank you,

Marc Bernard Schauber
Executive Director
Coalition for Vermont Student Equity

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Marc Schauber 
Dover, VT