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SUPREME COURT RESCINDS NJDOE CUTS TO ABBOTT BUDGETS

In an order issued March 18th, the NJ Supreme Court has directed the NJ Department of Education to immediately restore an estimated $78 to $100 million in programs and positions to the Abbott districts 2003-04 budgets. The Supreme Court's order overturns a divided Appellate Court ruling on February 26th upholding the cuts.

Under the Court order, the NJDOE must immediately calculate the precise amount of program cuts, and restore that amount to each districts' budget. The NJDOE must then provide the districts with funding for 25% of these programs, upon certification by the district. Finally, districts can apply for additional funds beyond the 25%, if such funding is needed before the end of this school year.

Richard Shapiro represented the Abbott districts in this case. David Sciarra, ELC Executive Director, participated on behalf of the Abbott students.

"This is an important victory for the districts and their students," Mr. Sciarra said. "The delays in providing needed programs caused by the NJDOE's improper action are regrettable. But the districts are to be commended for their perseverance in standing up for their students."

Both Mr. Sciarra and Mr. Shapiro called on the Commissioner and NJDOE to "move forward in a swift and positive fashion" to ensure the districts have all the additional funding necessary to implement their approved budgets during the remaining three months of the school year. Both attorneys emphasized the readiness of districts to work cooperatively with the Department to carry out the Supreme Court's order.