Court rejects request to reconsider school funding decision

Students in class (Photo: Shutterstock)

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) — Connecticut’s highest court has rejected a request to reconsider its ruling that the state’s education funding system is constitutional.

The state Supreme Court on Wednesday turned down the request in a one-page order that did not explain why. A coalition of cities, towns, parents and public school students that filed a lawsuit that led to the decision had asked for the reconsideration.

Related: Court asked to reconsider ruling on state education funding

A divided court last month overturned a landmark 2016 ruling by a lower court judge who ordered officials to overhaul the state’s public education system, saying a huge gap in test scores between students in rich and poor towns shows parts of the system are unconstitutional.

The Supreme Court acknowledged the achievement gap, but said it alone does not violate the equal protection provisions of the Connecticut Constitution. The court said the coalition had not shown that the gap was the result of unlawful discrimination against poor students through the education funding system.

Related: High court says state’s education funding is constitutional 

Leaders of the Connecticut Coalition for Justice in Education Funding, which sued the state in 2005, said Thursday that they plan to take their fight for education reforms to the legislature this year.

“The Connecticut Supreme Court majority decided to turn a deaf ear to the cries of thousands of public schoolchildren denied an adequate and equitable educational opportunity in our state,” James Finley, principal consultant to the coalition, said in a statement.

The 2016 ruling by Superior Court Judge Thomas Moukawsher ordered the state to submit proposals to revamp its formula for providing education aid to cities and towns, develop a statewide high school graduation standard such as a test and replace what he called a weak statewide system of teacher evaluation and compensation.

State officials appealed the ruling to the Supreme Court.

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