BRIDGEPORT, Conn. — Mayor Joe Ganim applauded a decision Wednesday by Hartford Superior Court Judge Thomas Moukawsher declaring Connecticut’s current public education funding formula to be unconstitutional.
"This decision by Judge Moukawsher is a game-changer for our children," Ganim said in a statement. "This ruling is a detailed, thorough indictment of how the state fails to provide an adequate education in Bridgeport and other poor school districts in Connecticut.
"I could not be more impressed by the strength of Judge Moukawsher's decision. His well-detailed and logical analysis will be hard for anyone to disagree with or challenge. He is right and has given our children back their constitutional right to have to a fundamentally adequate education."
The lawsuit, filed 11 years ago by the Connecticut Coalition for Justice in Education Funding, focused on deficiencies in six districts: Bridgeport, East Hartford, Danbury, New Britain, New London and Windham.
"For too long, students, parents and teachers in poorer districts like Bridgeport have been left to fend for themselves to carry out the state constitutional mandate to provide good quality schools," Ganm said. "For years, we cried out that we cannot do it in poor districts all on our own. We simply don't have the property tax base in our city to pay for the many services needed by the over 21,000 students in our district, many of whom are poor and come from challenged or broken homes."
The ruling says the state must come up with a new state funding formula within 180 days to ensure the poorest school districts have adequate resources
"For the first time, someone has heard our plea and is holding the Connecticut General Assembly to a strict timetable to fix our broken system," Ganim said. "I would urge the Attorney General to listen to the words of this strongly written decision and not waste any more time or precious public resources appealing this case or fighting it any further."
Many experts believe the case is ultimately headed to the state Supreme Court.
"We all want what our children deserve: a good quality education," Ganim said. "A child in Bridgeport has every right to a great teacher, a safe learning environment, and the tools that are necessary to get a good education. These are basic minimum standards that students in wealthier communities have come to expect.
"Now, finally Judge Moukawsher has resoundingly agreed that the State of Connecticut has a responsibility to ensure that every child in Connecticut has access to a quality education."
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