Supremes Side With State In School Funding Case

From Linda Conner Lambeck, CT Post:

The state Supreme Court on Wednesday reversed a lower court ruling that the state’s distribution of state education aid violates the constitution.

“It is not the function of the courts to eliminate all the societal deficiencies that continue to frustrate the state’s educational efforts,” the court determined in a 53-page decision.

The battle pitted a coalition including a dozen school districts and municipalities, including Bridgeport and Danbury, that claimed insufficient funding and a haphazard distribution was denying school children their constitutional rights to an adequate educational opportunity.

 Statement from Mayor Joe Ganim:

“We are still reviewing the legal details of this decision, but it appears that the Supreme Court has sided with the state and against our coalition. This is a disappointing outcome. We strongly believe that judge Moukawsher was right when he ruled that while there may be enough resources overall spent to create an adequate education for all Connecticut public school students, the way in which the state has chosen to distribute these resources is irrational, and unconstitutionally disadvantages students from poor and challenged districts such as Bridgeport.

How can you say that the state is meeting its constitutional obligation to provide an adequate education to Bridgeport’s 22,000 public school students when it only spends $14,000 per pupil, and in better off communities nearly double is spent on every student? This disparity means Bridgeport continuously struggles to find and retain good teachers and can barely provide enough school supplies for our kids.

This is true not only in Bridgeport but throughout challenging school districts with higher rates of poverty, families in crisis and trauma, as well as communities like ours who are often the first refuge for immigrants from all over the world whose first language is not English. This is not the end of the road in this struggle. We will talk with our coalition partners and figure out our next steps. The bottom line is that we will never stop fighting for our communities, our kids, and our future. Our constitution says every child has a right to the same educational opportunities, no matter what their zip code is. And our work won’t be finished until that statement is true in Connecticut.”

Link to decision below:
SC19768 – Connecticut Coalition for Justice in Education, Inc. v. Rell

SC19768 Concurrence and Dissent – Connecticut Coalition for Justice in Education, Inc. v. Rell

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10 comments

  1. Hey, Lennie any take regarding the fact that the Supreme hasn’t rule on the AB/133 district matter?

    “It is not the function of the courts to eliminate all the societal deficiencies that continue to frustrate the state’s educational efforts,” the court determined in a 53-page decision.

    Will throwing out votes be a function of the courts? Maybe it’s not a function of the court to eliminat all the deficiencies that continue to frustrate the election process.

        1. Rumor has it……ah…I’ll leave the rumor alone for now. It’s slated for the Zoning Commission agenda for Monday January 29 at 6:30PM, first item on the agenda. We’ll see!!!

  2. This is a very, very sad day for the city of Bridgeport, the state of Connecticut and most importantly the children of the urban centers throughout the state.
    A lifetime sentence remains in effect.

  3. New Haven Independent

    by Christopher Peak | Jan 17, 2018

    What’s Next:

    While the Supreme Court had the last word Wednesday on this particular lawsuit, the debate over educational equity surely isn’t over.

    David Rosen, the career New Haven civil rights lawyer who led the CCJEF’s legal team, said it’s likely that his client will file another case.
    “All I can say to you at this point is that we’re reading the opinion really, really carefully, and we’re going to figure out what our next steps are,” Rosen told the Independent. “I think nobody in the world would be surprised if we go back to the court to ask them to reconsider aspects of the decision, including of course, the bottom line: the outcomes.”

    In a statement released after Wednesday’s release of the decision, George Jepsen, the state’s attorney general, who had filed the appeal on behalf of the state, said he believes that the high court had made the right decision, leaving education policy decisions to policymakers
    ”We argued in this appeal that the trial court exceeded its authority and that, therefore, the decision should be overturned,” Jespen said. “Absent such a constitutional deficiency, education policy decisions rest with the representative branches of government. That said,” Jepsen went on, “the trial court’s ruling in this case did identify profound educational challenges that deserve continuing significant and sustained action on the part of our state’s policymakers. Nothing about today’s ruling should alleviate any urgency on the part of state lawmakers to address these challenges.”

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