Funding schools through local property taxes is a really stupid system, and while I’m happy that Christie’s not getting away with these school cuts, the fact remains that the system left in place is a really bad one:
TRENTON — Gov. Chris Christie’s deep cuts to state school aid last year left New Jersey’s schools unable to provide a “thorough and efficient” education to the state’s nearly 1.4 million school children, a Superior Court judge found today.
Judge Peter Doyne, who was appointed as special master in the long-running Abbott vs. Burke school funding case, today issued an opinion that also found the reductions “fell more heavily upon our high risk districts and the children educated within those districts.”
“Despite spending levels that meet or exceed virtually every state in the country, and that saw a significant increase in spending levels from 2000 to 2008, our ‘at risk’ children are now moving further from proficiency,” he said.
Gov. Chris Christie’s office said that Judge Doyne himself acknowledged that the Supreme Court limited his inquiry by excluding consideration of the state’s budget crisis.
“Critically, he also noted that, despite the fact New Jersey meets or exceeds all other states in spending for ‘at-risk’ students, many of those students continue to fail to meet basic educational proficiency,” said spokesman Michael Drewniak. “The Supreme Court should at last abandon the failed assumption of the last three decades that more money equals better education, and stop treating our state’s fiscal condition as an inconvenient afterthought.”
The Abbott vs. Burke case landed back in court after the Education Law Center, a Newark-based school advocacy group, filed a motion charging that Christie’s aid cuts violated the state’s school funding formula.
Christie slashed state aid by $820 million last year, and Doyne found that altogether, the state would have needed twice that much — $1.6 billion — to fully fund the School Funding Reform Act formula.