The bill, Senate Bill 24, passed with a vote of 28-7 along party lines, only a day before the end of the legislative season. The plan now goes to the House. The legislature must adjourn at midnight Wednesday.
The bill would allocate $100 million to reform the public schools. The new legislation would also create a “common chart of accounts,” which would allow the state to have a sense of where schools and districts are spending money.
“I am pleased to announce that we have reached an agreement on meaningful education reform. I can say, with confidence, that this bill will allow us to begin fixing what is broken in our public schools,” Malloy said in a release.
Malloy said the bill covers the six main principles he initially wanted to accomplish:
• Enhance access to early childhood education.
• Help turn around low-performing schools.
• Expand access to high quality school models.
• Remove “red tape and barriers” from high-performing schools.
• Provide access to the best teachers and principals available.
• Deliver more resources, monetary and others, to the school systems.
“There is much in this bill to like and dislike,” said state Sen. Toni Boucher, R-Wilton. “That is the true art of the compromise. Neither side is comfortable with all aspects of the bill.”
For her, the two aspects that are most significant and may do the most to reduce the achievement gap are new school readiness and early reading readiness.
“I have much appreciation for the enormous effort expended by so many groups at all levels that have worked tirelessly to bring forward many well thought out proposals included in this bill,” Boucher said. “We may disagree on methodology but not on the outcome we wish to achieve.”