September 8, 2016

Educators 4 Excellence-Connecticut reacts to ruling of CCJEF v. Rell lawsuit

E4E-CT praises Superior Court for requiring Connecticut to change how it distributes educational funding and take responsibility for all students

September 8, 2016 (New Haven, Conn.) – Educators 4 Excellence-Connecticut (E4E-CT), a teacher-led organization, reacted to the Court’s decision in Connecticut Coalition for Justice in Education Funding vs. Rell (CCJEF v. Rell). While Superior Court Judge Thomas Moukawsher handed down a ruling in favor of in favor of the state, he sided with CCJEF in noting that the state’s method for distributing educational funding is irrational and unconstitutional and that a “change must come.”

“We are heartened by the court’s decision in CCJEF. It is a first step toward our state taking full responsibility for all of its students,” said Justin Boucher, executive director of E4E-CT. “In the words of Judge Moukawsher, the state’s irrational use of educational funds ‘aren’t isolated stories.’ For many years the state of Connecticut has maintained an inequitable funding structure that is both inadequate and unreliable for the districts and students most in need of state support.”

According to CCJEF’s suit, the state’s allocation of educational funds has harmed thousands of Connecticut schoolchildren by failing to provide them with opportunities to meet the state’s own learning standards and has disproportionately impacted students of color. In his decision, Moukawsher chastised the legislature for recently reallocating $5 million in aid from some of the neediest school systems to comparatively wealthy ones and ordered the legislature to revise how it provides state aid within the next 180 days.  

“I am glad the Judge specifically highlighted that increases in educational funding for some towns like West Hartford has meant taking away millions from poorer towns including Bridgeport,” said Jill Harkins, teacher at Bassick High School in Bridgeport and an E4E-CT member. “In the wake of this decision I hope the state legislature will take appropriate steps to fix the broken school funding system so that my students don't need to work three times as hard to access the same opportunities as their peers in wealthier districts. The first step in doing so is to revise the outdated and unused ECS formula to fund based on need rather than geography.”