Throw out CCJEF

A few months ago, it appeared that the CCJEF v. Rell trial was going to begin at the start of 2015. The CCJEF coalition1 claims that the state isn’t paying enough money to adequately educate Connecticut students. They’re hoping for courts to compel the legislature to spend an additional $2 billion on schools - essentially doubling the amount the state currently spends on their main grant to districts, ECS.2

All of this changed in November, when the Attorney General released emails showing that CCJEF’s leader, Dianne Kaplan deVries, asking several people to delete their emails to avoid subpoena. As a result, the state is now asking the courts to remove the coalition as a plaintiff.

I’m not by any means a legal scholar, so I can’t comment on the strength of the state’s argument in this particular instance, but I do hope the CCJEF is dismissed as soon as possible.

As long as the specter of a CCJEF-related court mandate looms over the legislature, there is little chance they will take up meaningful school finance reform. I can understand the predicament legislators are in at the moment - why should they stick their necks out on a political hot-button like school finance when a court ruling could make their work irrelevant?

Dismissing the CCJEF case would make it much more possible to enact meaningful school finace reform. Let’s hope it happens sooner rather than later.

  1. CCJEF includes the two teachers unions in Connecticut (CEA and AFT-CT), the Connecticut Association of School Boards (CABE), the Connecticut Association of Public School Superintendents (CAPSS), several towns, and a handful of students and parents. 

  2. Current projections put ECS spending in FY16-FY18 at $2.04 billion.