Christie bows to N.J. Supreme Court order on school funding

    New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie said Tuesday he will comply with the Supreme Court ruling that the state must increase spending on poor school districts by $500 million.

    He called the split decision “disappointing,” adding that he does not believe it’s the role of the Supreme Court to determine which programs the state should fund.

    “The court should not be dictating how taxpayer dollars are spent and prioritizing certain programs over others,” Christie said. “The Supreme Court is not the Legislature.”

    Still, Christie said he won’t defy the court’s order.

    “As governor of New Jersey, I realize that regardless of my personal beliefs I must comply with the New Jersey Constitution as interpreted by the New Jersey Supreme Court,” the governor said.

    Christie previously indicated he considered ignoring the court. Rutgers School of Law professor Bob Williams says that would have created a constitutional crisis.

    “There was this possibility that was dangled around that he might somehow try to defy what the court ordered and that would have been a very big constitutional crisis for our state,” said Williams.

    Christie said it will be up to the state Legislature to adjust his proposed budget plan to provide the education funding the court ordered. Legislative leaders say they may be able to do that because of higher than anticipated tax revenues.

    Christie also said more education reforms are needed. “This will just be another $500 million of taxpayer money that will be thrown at the Abbott districts and still ninth-graders who entered ninth grade this year in Newark will still have a 23 percent chance of graduating.”

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