Christie's School-Cutting Plan Hits Roadblock
By David Harrison, Staff Writer
Judge Peter Doyne ruled that the reductions effectively makes it impossible for the state to meet its legal requirement to provide a "thorough and efficient" eduction and hurts low-income districts more than others, according to newjerseynewsroom.com . The ruling came after a local advocacy group filed a lawsuit challenging Christie's move.
The case now goes to the state Supreme Court, where Christie is confident he'll prevail. "My view is we're going to win in the Supreme Court," he said, according to the Star-Ledger . "The state can't print money." Christie has proposed increasing school funding by $250 million in the budget year that begins on July 1.
Should the court uphold the ruling, however, lawmakers might find themselves forced to find more money for schools, a difficult proposition as the state wrestles with another year of budget cuts.
Lawsuits over school funding cuts have become increasingly common as state governments slash spending in light of the recession. Advocates have brought suits in Kansas, California and Indiana, and Texas schools and are considering filing one when this year's legislative session ends. A judge dismissed the Kansas case earlier this month.
The suits center around language in state constitutions that require state officials to provide an adequate education for students, although the constitutional language varies somewhat from state to state. Over the past 40 years, the vast majority of states have had to deal with adequacy lawsuits, many of which resulted in victories for school funding advocates. Now that budget cuts threaten those victories, advocates are finding themselves in court once again.