A school bus drops off public school students for a tour of the state Capitol. In the background is the state Supreme Court.
Connecticut Supreme Court chamber www.CtMirror.org

The state Supreme Court has denied a last-ditch effort by a coalition of parents, teachers and local officials to reconsider the court’s recent decision saying state spending on education meets constitutional standards.

The denial puts an end to a 12-year legal saga and leaves decisions surrounding education funding levels in the hands of the Connecticut General Assembly and the governor.

“In the face of judicial indifference, [our] effort to ensure education adequacy and equity will now focus on the legislative and executive branches of state government,” said Jim Finley, principal consultant for the Connecticut Coalition for Justice in Education Funding, the plaintiffs in the lawsuit.

The high court ruled 4-3 in mid-January that, while there is no question many school districts struggle to help students overcome poverty, mental health issues at home and other non-educational issues, doing so is not a constitutional obligation.

“It is not the function of the courts … to create educational policy or attempt by judicial fiat to eliminate all of the societal deficiencies that continue to frustrate the state’s educational efforts,” Chief Justice Chase T. Rogers wrote for the majority. “The state’s offering [must be] sufficient to enable a student who takes advantage of them to become a functional member of society.”

Jacqueline Rabe Thomas

Jacqueline was CT Mirror’s Education and Housing Reporter, and an original member of the CT Mirror staff, joining shortly before our January 2010 launch. Her awards include the best-of-show Theodore A. Driscoll Investigative Award from the Connecticut Society of Professional Journalists in 2019 for reporting on inadequate inmate health care, first-place for investigative reporting from the New England Newspaper and Press Association in 2020 for reporting on housing segregation, and two first-place awards from the National Education Writers Association in 2012. She was selected for a prestigious, year-long Propublica Local Reporting Network grant in 2019, exploring a range of affordable and low-income housing issues. Before joining CT Mirror, Jacqueline was a reporter, online editor and website developer for The Washington Post Co.’s Maryland newspaper chains. Jacqueline received an undergraduate degree in journalism from Bowling Green State University and a master’s in public policy from Trinity College.

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