Monday, March 31, 2014

Governor Christie Moves Backwards on Nation's Most Progressive Funding Formula

As a result of the Abbott v. Burke litigation, New Jersey has consistently had the most progressive funding formula in the nation, meaning that the state drives the highest funding to the neediest school districts.  Governor Christie has decided to abandon the progressive funding formula for the 2014-15 school year.  Moreover, in the notice of change sent to districts, Christie did not indicate how the state aid would be allocated in the absence of this formula.  The Education Law Center, in papers filed with the Supreme Court of New Jersey, assert that the Governer's failure to fund the formula violates 2009 and 2011 rulings by the court:

In the 2009 ruling, the Court allowed the State to implement the SFRA, but only if the State operated the formula from year-to-year at its "optimal level."  In 2011, the Court, in ordering the Governor to restore $500 million in funding cut from urban districts, again ordered the State to keep the formula running properly in future years. In both rulings, the Court made crystal clear that the State has a continuing obligation to operate the formula every year to ensure all students the resources they need for a constitutional, "thorough and efficient" education.

The ELC's full press release is here.  Its supreme court brief is here.

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