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ERIC Number: ED523993
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2009-Nov
Pages: 43
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: 30
ISBN: N/A
ISSN: N/A
Assessing Success in School Finance Litigation: The Case of New Jersey. Education, Equity, and the Law. No. 1
Goertz, Margaret E.; Weiss, Michael
Campaign for Educational Equity, Teachers College, Columbia University
Education finance policy in New Jersey has been shaped by over 30 years of school finance litigation. Through its decisions in "Robinson v. Cahill" (1973-1976) and "Abbott v. Burke" (1985-2005), the justices of New Jersey's supreme court have defined the state's constitutional guarantee of a "thorough and efficient" education, set parameters for how the state's urban schools should be funded, and provided guidance on how education dollars should be spent in these communities (the so-called Abbott districts). In January 2008, the legislature enacted a new funding formula, the School Finance Reform Act of 2008, which jettisons the court's remedies. The court upheld the constitutionality of this law in its 20th "Abbott" ruling issued in May 2009. The purpose of this paper is to examine the impact of court-mandated school finance reform in New Jersey and describe the School Finance Reform Act (SFRA) of 2008 and its potential impact. The first section of this paper provides the demographic and economic context for education policy in New Jersey. The second and third sections describe how the court has defined educational "success" or "adequacy" over the last 30 years and how New Jersey measures an adequate education. The fourth section looks at the impact of school finance reform on education spending, taxation, and student achievement. The fifth section describes SFRA and its impact and the most recent round of litigation. Appended are: (1) Regular Education Budget per Pupil, Districts Grouped by Property Wealth per Pupil, 1975-76 through 2007-08, CPI Adjusted; (2) Regular Education Budget per Pupil, Districts Grouped by Property Wealth per Pupil, 1984-85 through 2007-08, Abbott Districts Separated, CPI Adjusted; and (3) School Tax Rates, Districts Grouped by Property Wealth per Pupil, 1984-85 through 2007-08, Abbott Districts Separated, CPI Adjusted. (Contains 6 figures, 7 tables and 17 footnotes.)
Campaign for Educational Equity, Teachers College, Columbia University. Box 219, 525 West 120th Street, New York, NY 10027. Tel: 646-745-8282; e-mail: equity@tc.columbia.edu; Web site: http://www.equitycampaign.org
Publication Type: Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: Elementary Secondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: Columbia University, Campaign for Educational Equity
Identifiers - Location: New Jersey
Identifiers - Laws, Policies, & Programs: Abbott v Burke; Robinson v Cahill
Identifiers - Assessments and Surveys: National Assessment of Educational Progress