The Education Law Center, a Newark, N.J.-based group that represents children in the state’s poorest communities, filed a motion with the New Jersey Supreme Court last week in an attempt to restore millions of dollars in school funding that the governor has proposed cutting.
The center says first-year Gov. Chris Christie’s budget proposal is contrary to a school funding plan approved last year by the court.
Education funding has been before the state’s top court for decades. The justices have repeatedly found that the state has an obligation under its constitution to do more for the poorest schools. As a result, those districts are among the best funded in the state. Still, several of the poorest districts lag far behind wealthier districts in test scores and graduation rates.
In his proposed state budget, Gov. Christie, a Republican, called for schools to get $820 million less for the coming school year than they did this year. He said the cuts were necessary to balance a state budget battered by increasing debt and decreasing tax revenue.
The New Jersey Education Association argued that the budget cuts would lead to thousands of teacher layoffs. Mr. Christie said layoffs could be avoided if teachers and other school workers would agree to voluntary wage freezes.
A version of this article appeared in the June 16, 2010 edition of Education Week as N.J. Advocates Ask Court To Restore School Funding