Posted by pcox November 18, 2008 15:46PM
The state Supreme Court today rejected Gov. Jon Corzine’s request to pull the plug on the long-running Abbott v. Burke court case, a case that has forced a succession of governors to steer billions of dollars in special state aid to Newark, Camden and 29 other needy communities.
Instead of closing the case, the court opted to set up a special set of hearings where Corzine will be given the chance to prove to a “special master” whether his new formula for distributing $7.8 billion in state school aid eliminates the need for the special consideration the court has demanded for the so-called “Abbott” communities. The court named Superior Court Judge Peter Doyne as the Special Master.
The text of the opinion is available online.
Tony Kurdzuk/The Star-Ledger Supreme Court Justice Jaynee LaVecchia during arguments in the Abbott v. Burke case at the Hughes Justice Complex in September.
“Until the State demonstrates to our satisfaction that a constitutionally adequate education can be provided to Abbott district students through the funding that will be provided via SFRA (the school funding formula), the State is bound to comply with the prior remedial orders and decisions respecting the plaintiffs in Abbott districts,” the court said in its 5-0 opinion.
The court declared the level of funding included in the current state budget for the Abbott communities to be adequate. However the court required that Abbott communities who feel they need additional funds for supplemental services must be given the chance to apply for them.
The court ordered that hearings before the special master, who will be appointed by the court, be expedited and that they be limited to the question of whether Corzine’s funding for Abbott communities and special needs students are adequate.