Tuesday, August 5, 2014

New Spotlight column: What we forget about Abbott v. Burke

 It start here:
Next month marks the 25th anniversary of the oral arguments over New Jersey’s most important public education lawsuit, Abbott v. Burke. 
On Sept. 25, 1989, the Education Law Center (ELC) argued on behalf of students attending schools in Camden, East Orange, Jersey City and Irvington that New Jersey’s method of school funding, which left districts almost entirely dependent on local tax levies, violated the state Constitution’s promise of access to a “thorough and efficient education system.” 
This Abbott II ruling, presaged by the 1972 Robinson v. Cahill school equity case, was issued the following June and is celebrated nationally as a touchstone for educational funding equity. 
But the Robinson and Abbott decisions are also remarkable for their prophetic call for education reform tenets currently making the rounds, from Common Core politics to “The Colbert Report.”
Continue here.

1 comment:

StateAidGuy said...

The Education Law Center (ELC) argued ...that New Jersey’s method of school funding, which left districts almost entirely dependent on local tax levies, violated the state Constitution’s promise of access to a “thorough and efficient education system.”


It isn't accurate that districts were "almost entirely dependent on local tax levies."

Prior to 1989 NJ distributed quite a lot in state aid, but that state aid was more evenly distributed among districts than it would be after Abbott and the total amount was less than after Abbott. Since low-resource districts didn't get substantially more per student in state aid, this meant that high-resource and middle-resource districts indeed spent more money than low-resource districts, but it's not true that NJ districts funded themselves "almost entirely on local tax levies."

Prior to Florio and Abbott, West Orange, for instance, got $10.2 million in state aid in a budget of less than $40 million. That means that West Orange was getting about a quarter of its budget from the state, a fact that proves wrong the ""almost entirely on local tax levies" claim.

In 2014-15 West Orange will get $6.9 million.

Florio increased taxes to pay for Abbott, but he also redistributed huge amounts of money. In any case, no district (not even the wealthiest ones) was "entirely dependent on local levies."