The Connecticut Supreme Court ruled on Monday in favor of the plaintiffs in a landmark education lawsuit that challenges the way the state funds public schools. WNPR’s Diane Orson reports.
The Connecticut Coalition for Justice in Education Funding, a group of municipalities, boards of ed, parents, teachers and children sued the state in 2005. They say many Connecticut students are being denied their constitutional right to an equitable and adequate education. They say that means children have the right to a certain level of education and should be prepared for college and to become effective citizens. In Monday’s 4-3 decision, the Connecticut Supreme Court agreed.
"The Supreme Court decision in favor of the individual plaintiff schoolchildren and parents is a major legal victory."
John Brittain teaches law at the University of the District of Columbia and was an original counsel in the historic Sheff vs. O’Neill school desegregation case. He and members of NAACP filed a friend of the court brief in the CCJEF case. Brittain says he’s elated by the decision.
"Its more than equal financing and hopefully it will join with racial and ethnic equality in the Sheff case to ultimately provide a suitable education for the schoolchildren of the state."
All the justices seemed to agree that the legislature has the final say in how to implement the right to a fair education. Those who dissented were uncomfortable with the idea of expanding the rights of the state’s constitution to include adequacy. In a statement Attorney General Richard Blumenthal said his office will review the decision and its impact on state education funding laws. The case proceeds now to trial in Waterbury Superior Court.
For WNPR, I’m Diane Orson.