WNPR

Connecticut Education Advocates Vow To Fight On After Court Defeat

Jan 19, 2018

Supporters of a landmark court case on educational equality in Connecticut say they’ll now take their fight to the legislature, after a Supreme Court ruling went against them. 

The Connecticut Coalition for Justice in Education Funding has been fighting through the courts for more than a decade to change the funding formula for Connecticut schools.

The organization says overreliance on the property tax and an unfair formula for state aid disadvantages schools in poor neighborhoods. A superior court judge last year ruled that the state’s failure to address the funding gap was unconstitutional, but the Supreme Court this week reversed that. 

Jim Finley, the principal consultant for CCJEF told WNPR they’re deeply disappointed.

"Connecticut has some of the most economically and racially segregated school districts in the nation," he said. "Our Connecticut Supreme Court failed to deal directly with that issue, and continued to defer to the executive and legislative branches. And those two branches of state government have shown repeatedly that they did not have the political will to deal with the issues."

Patrice McCarthy of the Connecticut Association of Boards of Education says the case may still have changed minds, even though they didn’t get the outcome they were looking for.

"We will certainly continue our advocacy at both the state and the federal level to ensure that all of our students have the opportunity to benefit from their educational experience, and we will continue to engage the legislature," she said. "This case certainly put a spotlight on the many disparities."

CCJEF now plans to ask the legislature in the upcoming session to fund a study into the true cost of adequate education across school districts in the state.