Education A State Capitals Roundup

N.J. Panel Recommends Adding Abbott Districts

By Catherine Gewertz — July 12, 2005 1 min read
  • Save to favorites
  • Print

An advisory panel to the New Jersey state board of education has recommended that poor rural districts be considered for designation as “special needs” school districts, a move that could obligate the state to provide intensive support for those systems, as it does for its poorest urban districts.

A group of rural districts has battled the state for eight years, contending that those districts need the same kind of help that 31 specially designated districts get as a result of the ongoing Abbott v. Burke litigation on school finance. Decisions in the case require New Jersey to fund its poorest urban districts at the levels of its wealthiest school systems.

“It’s now decided once and for all that poverty is poverty,” said Frederick A. Jacob, a Millville, N.J., lawyer representing the rural districts. “It’s poverty that creates educational issues, not urban-ness.”

An administrative-law judge decided in December 2002 that only five of the original 17 plaintiff rural districts deserved “special needs” designation. In February 2003, New Jersey Commissioner of Education William L. Librera accepted only one of those five as a so-called Abbott district, bringing the total to 31. Some of the rural districts appealed to the state board of education.

The legal committee, which advises the state board, concluded June 15 that all 17 of the original rural districts in the complaint—and possibly even more poor districts around the state—deserve the special-needs designation.

“We can only conclude that the students of these districts are not being afforded a thorough and efficient education” as required by state law, the panel said.

“The conditions under which these students live,” it said, “mirror those of the students in the Abbott districts, which in some cases are only blocks away.”

Any change in the Abbott designations would have to be approved by the board of education, and could be appealed to the state court system. State officials declined to comment on the legal committee’s report, saying it would be inappropriate to do so before it had been considered by the board. No date has been set for a decision.

Events

Recruitment & Retention Live Online Discussion A Seat at the Table: Chronic Teacher Shortage: Where Do We Go From Here?  
Join Peter DeWitt, Michael Fullan, and guests for expert insights into finding solutions for the teacher shortage.
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Science Webinar
Close the Gender Gap: Getting Girls Excited about STEM
Join female STEM leaders as they discuss the importance of early cheerleaders, real life role models, and female networks of support.
Content provided by Logitech
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Student Achievement Webinar
Mission Possible: Saving Time While Improving Student Outcomes
Learn how district leaders are maximizing instructional time and finding the best resources for student success through their MTSS framework.
Content provided by Panorama Education

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Teacher Jobs
Search over ten thousand teaching jobs nationwide — elementary, middle, high school and more.
View Jobs
Principal Jobs
Find hundreds of jobs for principals, assistant principals, and other school leadership roles.
View Jobs
Administrator Jobs
Over a thousand district-level jobs: superintendents, directors, more.
View Jobs
Support Staff Jobs
Search thousands of jobs, from paraprofessionals to counselors and more.
View Jobs

Read Next

Education Briefly Stated: January 18, 2023
Here's a look at some recent Education Week articles you may have missed.
8 min read
Education Letter to the Editor EdWeek's Most-Read Letters of 2022
Here are this year’s top five Letters to the Editor.
1 min read
Education Week opinion letters submissions
Gwen Keraval for Education Week
Education In Their Own Words Withstanding Trauma, Leading With Honesty, and More: The Education Stories That Stuck With Us
Our journalists highlight why stories on the impact of trauma on schooling and the fallout of the political discourse on race matter to the field.
4 min read
Kladys Castellón prays during a vigil for the victims of a mass shooting at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas, on Tuesday, May 24, 2022.
Kladys Castellón prays during a vigil for the victims of a mass shooting at Robb Elementary School.
Billy Calzada/The San Antonio Express-News via AP
Education In Their Own Words Masking, Miscarriages, and Mental Health: The Education Stories That Stuck With Us
Our reporters share the stories they wrote that rose above the fray—and why.
5 min read
Crystal Curtis and her son, Jordan Curtis, outside their home in Plano, Texas. Crystal, a healthcare professional whose son attends school in Plano talks about the challenges of ensuring quality schooling, her discomfort with the state and district’s rollback of mandatory masking, and the complications of raising a Black child in a suburban district as policies shift.
Crystal Curtis and her son, Jordan Curtis, outside their home in Plano, Texas. Crystal, a healthcare professional whose son attends school in Plano talks about the challenges of ensuring quality schooling, her discomfort with the state and district’s rollback of mandatory masking, and the complications of raising a Black child in a suburban district as policies shift.
Allison V. Smith for Education Week