— The parents of a former high school basketball player and high school cheerleader have asked a judge to block a planned expansion of a school fund, arguing the expansion violates the rights of the young athletes.
The parents, who filed suit Thursday, said they have received emails from the Hartford Courant newspaper and other media outlets in recent days expressing support for the lawsuit against Hartford City Schools.
The suit, filed by the Hartford School Committee, was filed in federal court in Hartford, Connecticut, and seeks an injunction blocking the expansion.
The parents said the school fund should not be expanded to include money for the creation of new sports teams, equipment and coaches.
Hudson County Superior Court Judge Christopher S. O’Connor issued an order barring the expansion on June 19, but the district appealed and the district is appealing.
The lawsuit argues the fund should be used to pay for sports, equipment, facilities and coaches, not for the expansion of existing sports teams.
The Hartford School committee is seeking an injunction that would stop the expansion, but O’Connell said it would be difficult to do so without the assistance of a third party.
“The district has already expended substantial amounts of money to ensure that the children and youth in this district are able to benefit from the benefits of the Hartford Sports Fund, yet this lawsuit seeks to create an entirely new sports fund for them that would exceed that amount,” the parents said in a statement.
The suit says the Hartford Public School Athletic Association failed to consider the impact of the expansion and that the parents are entitled to sue for damages for any future loss of the fund.
Hartsfield-based Hartford Public Schools said it has been involved in the lawsuit and is reviewing it.
“The court has already ruled that the Hartford Schools fund is a legitimate entity to be used for student sports, and we will appeal this decision,” spokeswoman Jessica Koehler said in an email.
The district’s sports department, which is in charge of recruiting, training and scheduling sports for the students in the district, has been under pressure to do something about the growing need for more sports.
Its athletic department has more than 1,000 full-time coaches and is looking to hire at least 1,300 more, Koehl said.