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CCJEF v. Rell (2016), Moukawsher Superior Court Ruling

Sep 7, 2016

Hartford Superior Court Judge Thomas Moukawsher ruled partially in favor of the Connecticut Coalition for Justice in Education Funding in a lengthy, wide-reaching decision regarding Connecticut's school finance system. Judge Moukawsher made the findings listed below and gave the State 180 days to submit proposed changes to address the parts of Connecticut's education system that he found unconstitutional.

  • The state's responsibility for education is direct and non-delegable: it must assume unconditional authority to intervene in troubled school districts.
  • The court can't dictate the amount of education spending, but spending including school construction spending must follow a formula influenced only by school needs and good practices.
  • The state must define elementary and secondary education objectively, ending the abuses that in some places have nearly destroyed the meaning of high school graduation and have left children rising from elementary school to high school without knowing how to read, write, and do math well enough to move up.
  • The state must end arbitrary spending on special education that has delivered too little help to some and educationally useless services to others; it must set sensible rules for schools to follow in identifying and helping disabled children.

The Connecticut General Assembly's Office of Legislative Research issued a summary of Judge Moukawsher's ruling—which can be downloaded by clicking the second button on the right—that details the case's history along with the Court's findings on the:

  • Relationship between the State and Local Governments
  • Educational Aid Formula
  • Definition of Elementary and Secondary Education
  • Evaluation and Compensation of Education Professionals
  • Special Education


Connecticut Coalition for Justice in Education Funding, Inc. v. Rell, Superior Court, judicial district of Hartford, Docket No. XO7-HHD-CV-145037565-S (September 7, 2016). Retrieved from

Sullivan, M. & Moran, J. D. (2016). OLR Backgrounder: CCJEF v. Rell (2016-R-0177). Hartford, CT: Office of Legislative Research. Retrieved from


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