A Connecticut Superior Court recently clarified the employer relationship for Regional School Districts and their member municipalities. The Court’s decision was occasioned by a student who was injured during a high school soccer game. In a lawsuit seeking compensation for his injuries, the plaintiff and his parents filed suit against the regional school district, as well as the three municipalities which comprised the school district. The premise for naming each of the municipalities as a defendant was that each of the municipalities was an “employer” of the negligent school employee as defined in CGS §7-465.

Conn. Gen. Stat. §7-465 provides that any “town, city or borough” shall pay all sums imposed on its “employees” for damages caused by an employee while acting in the performance of his/her duties. In response to the complaint, the district employee submitted an affidavit that he was an employee of the regional school district, and not any of the three municipalities. In response that plaintiff argued that the municipalities were “de facto employers” because they fully fund the regional school district.

The Court rejected the plaintiff’s arguments, pointing out that it stands to reason that in addition to the power conferred to regional school districts to hire employees, the power and obligation to pay and indemnify them is also conferred. In summary, the Court held that “nothing in the statutes permits the court to find that teachers, coaches, administrators or other employees of a regional school district are employees of the towns which comprise that district.” Regional school district employees are employees of the school district, and not of the district’s member municipalities.

*The Court’s decision can be found at McDonald v. Regional School District No. 12, 2012 Conn. Super. LEXIS 2914