Judge Orders State School Funding Plan, New High School Graduation Standards

(CBS Connecticut) — Reading his ruling from the bench after trial in a big school funding lawsuit, Judge Thomas Moukawsher today ordered the state of Connecticut to draw up a rational school spending plan in the next six months.

The judge also ordered the state to create mandatory graduation standards for high school students, and he ordered the state to come up with a rational, verifiable plan to improve elementary school that has ‘consequences’. He also gave the state six months to create those plans.

He railed against a system in which he says students in poor districts are given degrees, even though they are not ready to graduate.

The ruling comes in a decade-old lawsuit challenging the state’s school funding system.  It was filed by a coalition of city and town leaders, teachers unions, and education groups against the state.

“Connecticut is defaulting on its constitutional duty to provide adequate public school opportunities, because it has no rational, substantial, and verifiable plan to distribute money for education aid and school construction,” Moukawsher said.

The judge found that the state has been ignoring a previous formula for school spending, that was part of the Educational Cost Sharing Grant given by the state to cities and towns.

He noted that poor cities facing big challenges recently had their funding cut, while some more affluent towns had their funding increased.

Before the ruling was read, it was expected that the losing side could appeal.

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