Newark NJ — March 24, 2011
The NJ Supreme Court has issued an order accelerating the schedule for the Justices’ consideration of the constitutionality of the school aid cuts in 2010-11.
The Supreme Court notes that Special Master, Judge Peter Doyne, submitted his report on the remand proceedings on March 22, nine days prior to the March 31 deadline previously set by the Court. As a result, the Court has moved up the schedule for the parties to file written responses to Judge Doyne’s findings of fact and conclusions of law contained in his March 22 ruling.
Under the revised schedule, the Abbott Plaintiffs, represented by Education Law Center and pro bono co-counsel Gibbons P.C. and White & Case LLP, and the State Attorney General must file briefs with the Supreme Court by April 7, with replies to each other’s briefs due on April 14. The Court has not indicated whether it will hear oral argument in the case.
In his March 22 report to the Supreme Court, the Special Master concluded that the State had not met its burden of proof on the limited issue he had been charged with examining during the remand hearing: whether school districts could provide the State’s core academic standards (Core Curriculum Content Standards or CCCS) at the substantially reduced funding levels resulting from the FY11 State aid reductions. Judge Doyne concluded that districts could not provide the CCCS as a result of the aid reductions, amounting to $1.6 billion, particularly to at-risk students.
ELC will be seeking to have the Supreme Court adopt the Special Master’s report and to fashion an appropriate remedy to address the State’s violation of the students’ constitutional right to a thorough and efficient education.
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