It’s been more than a year since the state Supreme Court heard arguments in an important lawsuit challenging the way Connecticut funds public education. Plaintiffs continue to wait for the high court ruling.
Connecticut Coalition for Justice in Education Funding versus Rell could be the most far-reaching state education lawsuit since the Sheff vs. O’Neill desegregation case. A coalition of municipalities, boards of education, parents and teachers say that under Connecticut’s constitution, the state must provide children with an equitable and adequate education. They say that means that students should be prepared for college and to become effective citizens. A Superior Court judge dismissed the “adequacy” portion of the lawsuit. The plaintiffs appealed to the CT Supreme Court. Five justices heard oral arguments in April 2008. A few months ago, the court added two more judges to the case, so a full seven-member bench will ultimately issue the decision.
Yale Law School Clinical Professor Robert Solomon is the attorney for the plaintiffs. He’s not surprised by the long wait for a ruling. “Given that Kerrigan, the same sex marriage case took equally as long and it’s a major constitutional decision I as a litigant would hope we would have heard by now but I can’t say its shockingly long.”
Lawyers for the state argue that it’s the responsibility of the legislature and not the Supreme Court – to address quality of education issues. Once a decision is announced, the case will go to trial.