Connecticut Supreme Court Hears Arguments In Landmark School Funding Case

Sep 28, 2017

The Connecticut Supreme Court heard arguments on Thursday in a landmark school funding lawsuit. State officials are appealing a lower court decision, that ruled the state's funding system was unconstitutional.

One thing is clear: education funding is complicated. 

"There are an unlimited number of factors that affect children's ability to learn," the state's associate attorney general, Joseph Rubin, told the justices. "Some of them are in the control of school districts... Some of them are not within the support of the school districts. Some of the school districts can try to help mitigate or alleviate, but they can not fully overcome. and honestly, no one knows exactly how to measure any of those things."

But a coalition of parents, students, educators, and municipal leaders -- who sued the state under an umbrella group called the Connecticut Coalition for Justice in Education Funding -- claim that the state isn't doing enough, and can do more.

Their attorney, Joseph Moodhe, argued that the disparity between wealthy towns and poor ones is real. And simply throwing money at it doesn't make it better.

"What we focused on was not just dollars," Moodhe told the court, "but the need for more teachers, the need for better facilities, the need for computers that actually work."

The lower court ruled the state's funding system to be unconstitutional. The judge said the money being spent was enough, but the way it was spent was irrational. The state argued that test the judge used to apply this was arbitrary.

It's unclear when the Supreme Court will issue its decision.