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STATE DELAYS DECIDING DISTRICTS' FUNDING APPEALS

In its May 9th order in the Abbott v. Burke case, the NJ Supreme Court approved Governor Jon Corzine’s request to hold funding flat in the state’s high poverty urban school districts in 2006-07.

The Court also ordered the Department of Education to "work with" districts to protect "existing demonstrably needed Abbott programs" and gave the districts the right to appeals for more funds if an "identified demonstrably needed program, service or position will be substantially impaired due to insufficient funding."

On May 23rd, the Court clarified the May 9th order by setting an expedited schedule for NJDOE decisions and review of districts’ funding appeals.

Fourteen urban districts filed appeals in late May for funding to protect demonstrably needed programs, totaling $78.1 million.

The NJDOE has yet to decide these appeals, despite a 14 day deadline to issue such decisions. The districts report that the NJDOE declared all of the districts’ appeals incomplete, then made repeated requests for additional information.

This delay postpones any decision on more Abbott funding beyond the deadline for the FY2007 State Budget.

ELC urges Acting Commissioner Lucille Davy to decide these funding appeals promptly, and to submit a request to the Governor and Legislature for any additional state aid necessary to fully fund the districts’ budgets.