Plaintiffs in a Connecticut school funding lawsuit submitted a reply brief in February in opposition to the state’s motion to dismiss. Filed in 2005, Coalition for Justice in Education Funding, Inc v. Rell charges the state with violating its constitutional duty to provide suitable and substantially equal educational opportunities. In January of this year, the state asked the court to dismiss the case “based on the doctrines of ripeness and mootness,” arguing that proceeding would be a waste of time and resources.
The Connecticut Supreme Court held in a 2010 ruling that the state constitution guarantees all students “educational standards and resources suitable to participate in democratic institutions and to prepare them to attain productive employment.” The court found plaintiffs’ claims justiciable and remanded the case for trial, which is currently set for July 2014. The state’s motion to dismiss credits the state’s 2012 education reform legislation with dramatically altering and adding a substantial amount of funds to the school system. Defendants argue that the changes make the complaint’s arguments moot. Defendants present a second argument as well, claiming that the plaintiffs’ claims are not yet ripe because the new legislation has not taken full effect:
“It is too late to evaluate the adequacy of the education system that existed at the time the lawsuit was filed, but no longer does; and it is too early to evaluate the adequacy of comprehensive reforms that have not yet been given a fair chance to take hold.”
Responding to defendants’ motion, the plaintiffs contend that the funding increases for this year were trivial and that the education reform legislation changes were mostly nominal, with no effect on the equitable or adequate distribution of resources.