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N.J. Supreme Court affirms school funding formula

Friday, May 29th, 2009

By Phil Gregory

New Jersey’s Supreme Court has ruled the Corzine Administration’s new system for funding schools is constitutional. The decision is a major step toward ending a system of special help for 31 urban school districts, known as Abbott districts, that has drawn criticism from taxpayers and politicians for decades.

The decision is being welcomed by Lynne Strickland, Executive Director of the Garden State Coalition of Schools, who says the ruling will put all school districts in the state in the same position

Strickland: For the last number of years we’ve been divided and that splinters focus and you wind up scapegoating one another and not being true for what you’re really there for and that’s quality education for all kids.

There is some concern about the new funding formula. David Sciarra, the director of the Education Law Center which brought a lawsuit that resulted in the previous funding system, says the new arrangement is a major setback for children in the state’s poorest urban districts.

The court says New Jersey must continue to make some extra money available to the 31 urban districts for at least three years and the system must be reviewed for fairness in three years.

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