Standing before the New Jersey Supreme Court, Attorney General Zulima Farber admitted that the state has failed to properly oversee billions of dollars spent
on court-ordered school reforms. She acknowledged that the Abbott school districts now spend more then the so called ‘wealthiest districts’ and that the spending has not produced results.
"As I stand here today, I cannot deny the state neglected its responsibility to provide sufficient fiscal oversight," she told the court in her opening argument. "With that neglect, we have gotten far from the original intent of Abbott."
We have repeatedly pointed out on this blog that the 31 Abbott schools districts have long since achieved funding parity and now spend 30 to 35% percent more per student
than even the 'wealthiest districts’. It’s good to hear the state finally admit it
The criteria set for Abbotts was that they be funded to achieve parity with the state's wealthiest districts. A brief filed by acting Education Commissioner Lucille Davy shows the Abbotts are already getting $500 million in aid above the parity level.
The Education Law Center, the group behind the series of Abbott lawsuits, is again suing the state, this time for $550 million
in additional funding for the districts. The state has proposed a smaller increase for next year and argues the billions poured into the Abbott schools have not produced improvements in educational performance
. This is another fact we have repeatedly documented on this blog and are happy to hear Acting Department of Education Commissioner Lucille Davy acknowledge it in court.
I'm concerned that we're spending $18,000 a kid in Asbury Park, for example, and their results are near the bottom in almost any measure.
"We need to figure out why we are not getting the outcomes," she said. "It's clearly not a matter of resources."
This thirty year Abbott experiment has produced no results, beyond nearly bankrupting the state and producing the highest property taxes in the nation. The New Jersey Supreme Court’s Abbott school funding decisions have been a disaster for everyone. Let’s hope the unelected robed ones will finally admit their mistake and tell the Education Law Center ‘enough is enough’. Better thrity years late than never.