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Wednesday, September 07, 2016

Judge Strikes Down State Education Aid Choices as ‘Irrational’

By Mark Pazniokas and Keith M. Phaneuf


In a broad indictment of how Connecticut supports its poorest schools, Superior Court Judge Thomas Moukawsher ruled today 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. 

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Superior Court Judge Thomas Moukawsher: orders the state to come up with a new funding formula for public education. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Ctmirror.org photo

Moukawsher said the plaintiffs failed to meet their high burden of proving beyond a reasonable doubt that the quality of public education violates the state Constitution by the standards of minimum funding or the adequacy of instruction in the state’s classrooms. But he gave them a victory on the question of how aid is distributed, special education is funded and the standards to which students and teachers are held.

He handed the state, the plaintiffs and General Assembly an ambitious five-point outline for action on revamping how teachers are evaluated and paid, special education students are evaluated and served, and more broadly, how the state directs $2 billion in annual state spending for local education, plus another $1 billion in reimbursements for school construction and renovations.

“So, change must come,” Moukawsher said. “The state has to accept that the schools are its blessing and its burden, and if it cannot be wise, it must at least be sensible.”

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Posted 09/07/16 at 03:15 PM  Permalink


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