Trial over school funding in Connecticut begins

Trial over school funding in Connecticut begins

Challenge of state's funding formula goes to trial more than a decade after suit was filed.

Opening statements in a trial over education funding in Connecticut focused on whether more money would enhance opportunities for city students whose test scores and high school graduation rates trail far behind those of their suburban counterparts.

The Hartford Courant reports that lawyers for the plaintiffs pointed to a stark disparity between urban and more well-off school districts, and lawyers countered by emphasizing the substantial resources Connecticut provides to public education, including hundreds of millions of additional dollars directed recently to low-performing districts.

The Connecticut Coalition for Justice in Education Funding brought the lawsuit against the state. It contends that the state is violating the constitutional right of many students by failing to provide them with an adequate education. The group wants an overhaul of Connecticut's school funding formula, which they say relies too much on local property taxes and enables wealthy districts to offer a better education to students.

The Coalition initially sued the state in 2005. A judge dismissed the case, but the Connecticut Supreme Court ruled in 2010 that the lower court erred, and the case was reinstated.

The trial is scheduled to last several months. 

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