Huge questions over how state aid for schools and state colleges ultimately will fare will be a critical focus of Democratic and Republican leaders as they grapple with reconciling their vastly different state budgets. Here are the critical differences in funding for schools and colleges that Democrats and Republicans must resolve.
While changing the way the state distributes school aid among towns may draw substantial support from legislators and the governor, they have shown little interest in, or have outright rejected, changing other polices a Superior Court judge found unconstitutional. Last of seven stories.
The rate at which students are identified for special education varies drastically across school districts, and school officials differ on whether that’s because districts are over- or under-indentifying students. But they agree the rising cost to educate these students has outpaced inflation and crowds out other supports for students. The state judge presiding over a recent school funding trial blamed the state for not enforcing clear mandates on who is entitled to special education. Sixth of seven stories.
A seeming paradox – rising graduation rates coupled with low standardized test scores and high demand for remedial courses in college – was among the reasons that a Hartford Superior Court judge ruled that the state fails to provide students with the education the state constitution says they are entitled to. Fifth of seven stories.
School construction costs, coupled with well over $1 billion the state must contribute each year toward teachers’ pensions, mean about 40 percent of the state’s annual education spending is locked in for years to come. Third of seven stories.
To fix the formula, legislators would have to decide whether there is inequity in how state aid is distributed to towns, simply a lack of money, or both. Any major change would mean huge fiscal consequences and political battles. Second of seven stories.
“The state of education in some towns is alarming,” wrote the judge presiding over a recent five-month trial on state funding of failing schools. Whether the state is doing enough to educate children in poverty was at the core of the case, which explored the struggles of students in the state’s lowest-performing schools. First of seven stories.
The state Supreme Court will hear an expedited appeal of a lower court’s conclusion that the way the state distributes education aid and oversees local schools is unconstitutional.
The coalition of education reformers who won a suit striking down Connecticut’s school funding formula as unconstitutional on Monday asked the state Supreme Court to deny the attorney general’s request for an expedited appeal of the case.
Attorney General George Jepsen’s office filed an appeal Thursday asking the Connecticut Supreme Court to conclude that a trial judge embarked on “an uncharted and legally unsupported path” last week in asserting authority over how the state distributes education aid and sets standards for graduating from high school, serving special-needs students and evaluating teachers.
NEW HAVEN — Gov. Dannel P. Malloy said Tuesday he agreed with the “core” of Superior Court Judge Thomas Moukawsher’s finding last week that Connecticut’s distribution of education aid was so irrational as to be unconstitutional, but the ruling raises so many legal and practical complexities that he will defer a decision on an appeal to Attorney General George Jepsen.
“This is a case I feel so privileged to be involved with,” said crusading New Haven attorney David Rosen. “Let’s hope that this case has a very big impact and helps lots of children for years to come.”
In a broad indictment of how Connecticut supports its poorest schools, Superior Court Judge Thomas Moukawsher ruled Wednesday that the state’s method for distributing education aid is irrational and unconstitutional, while declining to second-guess the General Assembly on the ultimate level of state spending.
The five-month trial examining whether the lowest-performing schools in Connecticut are providing students with the education the state constitution requires came to a close Wednesday with final arguments from the attorney defending the state and sharp questioning from the judge. The judge will now craft a complex decision almost certain to become the basis of an appeal to the state Supreme Court.
Opening arguments begin today in a trial five-month trial to ultimately determine whether the education being provided in Connecticut’s lowest-achieving school districts fulfills the state’s constitutional obligation.