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COURT GIVES GOVERNOR & LEGISLATURE ANOTHER CHANCE TO FUND SCHOOL CONSTRUCTION

Newark, NJ – February 19, 2008

In an order issued today, the NJ Supreme Court has given Governor Jon Corzine and the State Legislature another chance to take prompt, good faith action to approve $2.5 billion in new construction funds to restart numerous stalled school projects in Abbott districts.

In issuing the order, the Court cited the representation of the Attorney General on the eve of the January 23rd hearing that Governor Corzine will introduce legislation in February to raise the bond limitation on school construction by $2.5 billion, and that he would seek to have the legislation passed.

For the Court’s order, click here

The order marks the third time since 2005 that the Plaintiff school children in the landmark Abbott v. Burke litigation have asked the Court to intervene to restart the school construction program. ELC serves as attorney for the Abbott school children.

In light of the Attorney General’s last minute pledge, the Court declined to impose its own deadline for passage, but left the door open for Plaintiffs to seek that relief if the funding is not approved by the Legislature.

In a concurring opinion, Justice Albin noted the history of Plaintiffs efforts, and the serious and undisputed harm to the school children as a result of the lack of funds. In light of the Governor’s commitment to introduce and move legislation forward, however, Justice Albin stated he "would not presume the Legislature will fail to fund the ‘next phase of school construction,’ including addressing health and safety concerns."

"We fully expect the Governor to follow through with a legislative proposal, and to actively work for passage of the bill, said David G. Sciarra, attorney for the Abbott school children. "We also expect the Legislature to act quickly on the legislation, given the urgent and undisputed need. The Court now expects swift action, and understands that our most disadvantaged children must not be allowed to wait any longer."

Education Law Center Press Contact:
David G. Sciarra
Executive Director
email: dsciarra@edlawcenter.org
voice: 973 624-1815 x16