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GOVERNOR SUES TO CUT EDUCATION FOR POOR STUDENTS

ELC WILL FIGHT SUIT, URGES ADVOCATES OPPOSE SCHOOL BUDGET CUTS

Governor Jon Corzine has filed a lawsuit in the Supreme Court, asking the Court for permission to make substantial cuts in programs, staff and services in schools serving New Jersey’s poorest students. The Governor’s litigation restarts the landmark Abbott v. Burke case, widely recognized as New Jersey’s "Brown v. Board of Education" because of its focus on improving education opportunities for poor and minority children in the State’s high poverty urban schools.

"It is disappointing that the Governor has chosen the path of wasteful and unnecessary litigation in the courtroom, rather than working on meeting the needs of our students in the classroom," said David Sciarra, ELC Executive Director and Abbott Counsel.

"We will vigorously defend the right of these students to a high quality education, which will be seriously undermined if the Governor is allowed to make cuts in critically needed programs and staff."

ELC is also calling on advocates for education justice, parents, community leaders and legislators to strongly oppose the Governor’s lawsuit and his proposed education cuts.

"The Governor’s education cuts come at a time when we’re just beginning to make progress in our urban schools, after over 50 years of neglect," Mr. Sciarra added. "These cuts will stop that historic progress in its tracks."

ELC is calling on the Legislature to reject the Governor’s budget cuts and provide a school aid increase not just of urban schools, but schools across the State. Suburban and rural districts have had no increase in state aid in five years, which has eroded education quality and caused spikes in local property taxes.