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ERIC Number: ED504884
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2007-May
Pages: 23
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: N/A
Abbott Students Attending Charter Schools: Funding Disparities and Legal Implications
Bulkley, Katrina
Education Law Center
Most of New Jersey's charter schools are located in the state's poorer, urban school districts, or "Abbott" districts, and exclusively serve students from those communities. A number of other schools are located outside of the Abbott districts but enroll students from these districts. Specifically, of the 50 charter schools operating in 2004-05, 39, or 78%, were located in Abbott districts. Seven more were located in other communities but still served Abbott students in addition to other students. In total, these schools served over 11,000 Abbott students; thus, 82% of students in charter schools in 2004-05 were Abbott students. Under a series of New Jersey Supreme Court rulings in the landmark "Abbott v. Burke" education equity litigation, students in Abbott districts are entitled to remedial funding and other programs and reforms designed to ensure them a constitutionally "thorough and efficient" education, defined as an education that enables them to meet the state's Core Curriculum Content Standards ("CCCS"). This package of remedies includes rigorous, standards-based, foundational education supported by per-pupil funding equal to the average spent in successful suburban schools "parity", as well as supplemental "at-risk" programs and funding to address the student and school needs associated with high-poverty communities. This paper examines the state's current framework for funding the education of students enrolled in charter schools in Abbott districts. First, the legal regime governing funding for students in Abbott charter and district-operated schools is described. This examination focuses on the most important education funding categories: per-pupil funding to support the K-12 foundational program defined by the CCCS and measured by State assessments; additional funding for K-12 "supplemental", or "at-risk", programs that address the effects of student poverty; and additional funding for preschool education and full-day kindergarten. Second, enrollment levels in Abbott charter schools and the demographic characteristics of these students are examined. Finally, the funding disparities between students attending Abbott charter schools and students attending district schools are analyzed. The conclusion is made that although enrollments in Abbott charter schools mirror the socio-economic and racial makeup of their district counterparts, their students receive substantially less educational funding than their peers. The funds that charter schools receive are far below the level determined by the court to be sufficient for the programs and services that are necessary to ameliorate the effects of concentrated poverty. Neither the "Abbott" rulings, nor the Legislature, have endorsed this funding disparity. (Contains 1 table, 4 figures, and 18 footnotes.)
Education Law Center. 60 Park Place Suite 300, Newark, NJ 07102. Tel: 973-624-1815; Fax: 973-624-7339; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Information Analyses; Numerical/Quantitative Data; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Elementary Secondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: Education Law Center, Inc., Newark, NJ.
Identifiers - Location: New Jersey