Chris Christie wins in court on surplus

    An opposite ruling would have punched a $1 B hole in New Jersey’s budget

    An appeals court has upheld Governor Chris Christie’s executive order forcing school districts in New Jersey to use their surplus funds to make up for a reduction in state aid.

    The order that Christie signed in February stopped $475 Million in school aid payments to help close a more than $1 Billion state budget gap in the current fiscal year.

    The Perth Amboy school district filed a lawsuit claiming the governor violated the separation of powers, but the court ruled Christie acted within his constitutional authority.

    New Jersey Schools Boards Association spokesman Frank Belluscio says fiscally prudent schools wanted to use their surplus money next year.

    “We would have preferred that they found a different way to balance the budget because in many of these communities that excess surplus really could have provided property tax relief next year.”

    While schools are disappointed with the ruling, a decision against the Governor’s actions would have added to state revenue concerns as efforts continue to get a new budget in place by the start of the next fiscal year on July 1st.

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