It’s 'Déjà Vu, All Over Again - More Abbott Nonsense
In the past five years, state aid to public school districts has increased 30% and as the Governor stated in his budget proposal “almost all of the increases in state aid have gone to the Abbott districts. As a result, Abbott districts now represent 12 of the state's 15 highest spending K-12 districts.” Further, per pupil spending in the Abbott districts is 30-35% greater than a non-Abbott school counterpart in the same county.
The Abbott districts had requested a total increase of $550 million in state aid for next year according to records filed by the state. Governor Corzine has only budgeted $103 million more, so it’s back to the state Supreme Court.
"Each year, spending requests for supplemental funding have gone up exponentially in Abbott districts," the state's brief says. "However, we have not seen a corresponding increase, or even a significant increase, in educational achievement."Funding have gone up exponentially each year for the past 30 years since the New Jersey Supreme Court handed down its first Abbott decision, to be more precise. The attorneys arguing on behalf of the Abbott districts do what they always do, blame the state and demand even more money.
"To the Abbott districts, the state's application, in the tortured neologism of Yogi Berra, is 'déjà vu, all over again,'" Richard Shapiro, attorney for 16 of the Abbott communities, said in a brief he filed with the court last week.Talk about tortured logic. It’s not possible to “evaluate the success of Abbott programs” because there hasn’t been any. The state measures school and student performance in all districts. A review of the poor tests results for the Abbott districts are publicly available on the state’s school ‘report cards’ website. Some might concluded that the 30 year Abbott funding experiment has been a miserable failure, assuming the purpose was to provide students with a good education.
Both Shapiro and David Sciarra, the attorney arguing the case for the Education Law Center, say the state has reneged on promises in the past to put in place procedures to evaluate the success of Abbott programs and to help local communities justify their spending requests.
It has been a smashing success in raising income taxes and property taxes in the non-abbot districts and of course in increasing pay, benefits and the number of education jobs in New Jersey.
In court papers, Newark Superintendent Marion Bolden said the state is demanding costs be further curtailed even though state officials signed off on significant new expenses, including a teachers' contract that locked in salary increases of 5 percent to 6 percent..Is it any wonder why New Jersey is going broke?