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Connecticut Coalition for Justice

Connecticut Coalition for Justice

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Published by Helen Bennett
This is a copy of the Connecticut Supreme Court ruling in the Connecticut Coalition for Justice in Education Funding 2005 lawsuit against the state.
This is a copy of the Connecticut Supreme Court ruling in the Connecticut Coalition for Justice in Education Funding 2005 lawsuit against the state.

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Published by: Helen Bennett on Mar 22, 2010
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10/24/2011

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******************************************************The ‘‘officially released’’ date that appears near thebeginning of each opinion is the date the opinion willbe published in the Connecticut Law Journal or thedate it was released as a slip opinion. The operativedate for the beginning of all time periods for filingpostopinion motions and petitions for certification isthe ‘‘officially released’’ date appearing in the opinion.In no event will any such motions be accepted beforethe ‘‘officially released’’ date. Allopinionsaresubjecttomodificationandtechnicalcorrection prior to official publication in the Connecti-cut Reports and Connecticut Appellate Reports. In theevent of discrepancies between the electronic versionof an opinion and the print version appearing in theConnecticut Law Journal and subsequently in the Con-necticut Reports or Connecticut Appellate Reports, thelatest print version is to be considered authoritative.The syllabus and procedural history accompanyingthe opinion as it appears on the Commission on OfficialLegal Publications Electronic Bulletin Board ServiceandintheConnecticutLawJournalandboundvolumesof official reports are copyrighted by the Secretary of the State, State of Connecticut, and may not be repro-duced and distributed without the express written per-mission of the Commission on Official LegalPublications, Judicial Branch, State of Connecticut.******************************************************
 
CONNECTICUT COALITION FOR JUSTICE INEDUCATION FUNDING, INC., ET AL.
v.
GOVERNOR M. JODI RELL ET AL.(SC 18032)
Norcott, Katz, Palmer, Vertefeuille, Zarella, Schaller and McLachlan, Js.*
 Argued April 22, 2008—officially released March 30, 2010
 Neil Weare
and
David Noah,
certified legal interns,with whom were
Robert A. Solomon
and
Robin Golden,
for the appellants (plaintiffs).
Gregory T. D’Auria
, associate attorney general, withwhom were
Clare E. Kindall
and
Robert J. Deichert
,assistant attorneys general, and, on the brief,
Richard Blumenthal
, attorney general, for the appellees(defendants).
 Erika L. Amarante
and
Michael A. Rebell
filed abrief for the Campaign for Educational Equity et al. asamici curiae.
 Steven D. Ecker 
filed a brief for the Workforce Alli-ance et al. as amici curiae.
 Robert M. DeCrescenzo
filed a brief for the Connecti-cut Conference of Municipalities et al. as amici curiae.
 Linda L. Morkan, Ndidi N. Moses
and
Nicole A. Ber- nabo
filedabriefforOneConnecticutasamicuscuriae.
 John C. Brittain, Jennifer Mullen St. Hilaire
and
 Emily A. Gianquinto
filed a brief for the ConnecticutState Conference NAACP et al. as amici curiae.
 David N. Rosen
filed a brief for Christopher Collierand Simon J. Bernstein as amici curiae.
 
Opinion
NORCOTT,J.Itisbynowwellestablishedthat,underthe constitution of Connecticut, the state must ‘‘ ‘pro- vide a substantially equal educational opportunity toits youth in its free public elementary and secondaryschools’ ’’;
Horton
v.
Meskill
, 172 Conn. 615, 649, 376 A.2d 359 (1977) (
 Horton I 
); and that this court has arole in ensuring that our state’s public school studentsreceivethatfundamentalguarantee.See
 Sheff 
 v.
O’Neill
,238 Conn. 1, 45–46, 678 A.2d 1267 (1996). In this publicinterest appeal, we consider whether article eighth, § 1,of the constitution of Connecticut
1
also guarantees stu-dents in our state’s public schools the right to a particu-lar minimum quality of education, namely, suitableeducational opportunities. The plaintiffs, the Connecti-cut Coalition for Justice in Education Funding, Inc.,
2
and numerous parents and their children, who areenrolled in public schools across the state,
3
appeal,upon a grant of certification by the Chief Justice pursu-ant to General Statutes § 52-265a,
4
from the judgmentof the trial court granting the motion of the defendants, various state officials and members of the state boardof education,
5
to strike counts one, two and four of the plaintiffs’ amended complaint.
6
Having determined thatthe plaintiffs’ claims are justiciable because they do not present a political question, we conclude that articleeighth, § 1, of the Connecticut constitution guaranteesConnecticut’s public school students educational stan-dards and resources suitable to participate in demo-cratic institutions, and to prepare them to attain productive employment and otherwise to contributeto the state’s economy, or to progress on to highereducation. Accordingly, we reverse the judgment of thetrial court.The record reveals the following relevant facts, asalleged in the operative complaint and construed in themanner most favorable to the pleader; see, e.g.,
Violano
 v.
Fernandez
, 280 Conn. 310, 317–18, 907 A.2d 1188(2006);andproceduralhistory.Theindividualplaintiffs’children attend public schools in Bridgeport, Danbury,Windham, Hartford, New Haven, East Hartford, NewLondon,PlainfieldandNewBritain.Theplaintiffsallegethat the state has failed to provide their children with‘‘suitableandsubstantiallyequaleducationalopportuni-ties’’ because of inadequate and unequal inputs, which‘‘are essential components of a suitable educationalopportunity,’’ namely: (1) high quality preschool; (2)appropriate class sizes; (3) programs and services forat-risk students; (4) highly qualified administrators andteachers;(5)modernandadequatelibraries;(6)moderntechnologyandappropriateinstruction;(7)anadequatenumber of hours of instruction; (8) a rigorous curricu-lum with a wide breadth of courses; (9) modern andappropriate textbooks; (10) a school environment thatishealthy,safe,wellmaintainedandconducivetolearn-

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