Court Decision Could Lead to Education Changes | NBC Connecticut

Court Decision Could Lead to Education Changes

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    The ruling is due out today and it will determine whether the state’s constitutional promise to offer equal education to students includes the assurance of at least adequate quality.

    The state Supreme Court has ruled in favor of a lawsuit that could lead to major changes in the state's education system and how it is funded.

    The decision, which was released on Monday, said the state constitution promises an education that prepares students for a job or higher education.

    The Connecticut Coalition for Justice in Education Funding had sued, saying achievement gaps between rich and poor towns showed some students are not receiving an adequate education to prepare them for jobs and adult life.

    The decision could force a review of the state's 22-year-old formula for funding schools, which the group says has drastically hurt some towns and their students.

    In 2005, the Connecticut Coalition for Justice in Education Funding sued the state, claiming the achievement gaps between rich and poor towns show some students are not receiving an adequate education to prepare them for jobs and adult life.

    The state's lawyers say Connecticut does offer access to at least an adequate education and that, strictly speaking, the constitution promises access to education without addressing the subjective question of judging its quality.

    A lower court ruled in the state's favor in 2007.

    The coalition says schools across Connecticut are underfunded by $1 billion to $2 billion a year.

    It also says neither state legislators nor Republican Gov. M. Jodi Rell, who is the lead defendant, have done enough to address the inequities.

    The complaint also alleges that inadequate school funding has disproportionately affected minority students. Yale law students are representing CCJEF and the other plaintiffs.

    The formula created in 1988, the Education Cost Sharing grant, distributes state education funds to municipalities using a complicated equation that takes into account poverty, tax bases and other factors.

    But some local officials, particularly in struggling large cities, have said the system has failed and arbitrarily allocates funds for regular and special education.