This could be the week we hear from the NJ Supreme Court about the School Funding Reform Act of 2008. Is the state required to follow the law? Or can a governor and legislature simply ignore the law? If the governor and legislature don’t agree with the court, can they defy a court order?
We are about to find out.
It is not just a wonky public policy dispute.
Our children are bearing the brunt of reduction in services. While Paterson will restore some arts and music programs, we won’t have tutors or academic support for our English language learners or restore the school librarians. The $53 million that would come to us if the legal school funding formula was fully enacted would restore much of our children’s losses.
I sat in the Statehouse the night that the School Funding Reform Act of 2008 was passed by a single vote in each house. I watched legislators being marched the the Governor’s office to be cajoled and pressured. I hoped that the losses that Paterson would suffer would be offset by a fairer distribution of support for all NJ’s poor children. Right now that hope is in ashes. Not only Paterson children suffer, but poor children all over the state have lost the promise of a thorough and efficient system of public education.
When the Court acts and the reaction begins, I hope that you will join me in raising your voice for our children. Silence is complicity. Let your voice be heard.