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