Support Our Work

As a nonprofit organization, ELC relies on the generous contributions of individuals, corporations and foundations to support our work.

donate now

Join Our Network

Name

Org.

Email

Anti-spam

NJ RURAL STUDENTS CONTINUE PURSUIT OF FAIR SCHOOL FUNDING

April 20, 2015

Parents, students and school districts in 16 rural New Jersey communities have filed an appeal seeking to enforce a 2009 NJ Department of Education (NJDOE) order for K-12 school funding and high quality preschool under the School Funding Reform Act of 2008 (SFRA), the state’s landmark weighted funding formula.

A legal brief supporting the appeal was filed on April, 15, 2015, in the Appellate Division of the Superior Court of New Jersey. Plaintiffs are appealing a lower court ruling granting the state’s motion to dismiss the suit for an alleged failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted.

The appeal is the latest effort by the Plaintiffs in Bacon v. NJ Department of Education to ensure all students in the 16 “Bacon” districts receive a “thorough and efficient” education, as guaranteed under the NJ Constitution.

In 2006, the NJ State Board of Education ruled that education in the Bacon districts was deficient and violated the State constitution. In 2008, an appellate court agreed and directed the NJDOE to assess whether the newly-enacted SFRA provided a remedy. In 2009, the NJDOE determined that the increases in K-12 funding and expansion of the nationally-acclaimed Abbott preschool program under the SFRA would, if implemented, provide the Bacon districts with the necessary tools to remedy the constitutional violation.

After school districts had received modest funding increases under the SFRA for two years, Governor Chris Christie cut school aid in 2011, and his administration has provided none of the aid increases or preschool expansion funding included in the formula over the past four years. As a result, the Bacon districts are now underfunded by a total of $18 million, or an average of $900 per pupil, and an estimated 2,300 three- and four-year-olds in these districts are not receiving full-day, high quality early education.

Education Law Center continues to represent students and families in the Bacon districts, along with certified civil trial attorney Fredrick Jacob of Millville.

The legal documents required for the appeal should be completed by early June. Oral argument before the appellate court has been requested, but no date has been set.

Detailed information about the Bacon case is available on the ELC website, including a list of the 16 districts, a timeline, and legal documents.

 

Press Contact:

Sharon Krengel
Policy and Outreach Director
skrengel@edlawcenter.org
973-624-1815, x 24