Oral arguments on a long-pending motion to dismiss in Connecticut’s long pending education adequacy case finally took place last month. In December, the state filed the motion, arguing that major legislative reforms enacted in the 2012 legislative session rendered moot the claims in the complaint, some of which dated back to 2005. They claimed that the recent education reforms have dramatically and comprehensively altered the public education system. In addition to arguing that the old claims were moot, the defendants also asserted that any challenge plaintiffs might lodge against the new education system were not ripe for adjudication because it would take several years for the reforms to be implemented and assessed.
Plaintiffs’ argued in response that the education reforms touted by the state defendants were relatively minor — about a $50 million increase in the basic education cost sharing formula against a funding gap that they calculate to be over $2 billion. The 2012 reforms, according to plaintiffs, did not change the basic funding system, and the new system does not provide the adequate and substantially equal educational opportunities guaranteed by the state constitution. Defendants should not be permitted to evade judicial review through “legislative tinkering” that does not correct the underlying funding problems.
In 2010, the Connecticut Supreme Court rejected defendants’ prior motion to dismiss, held that the Connecticut constitution did contain a qualitative education adequacy clause and sent the case back for trial. That trial is currently scheduled to begin in July, 2014.
October 17, 2013