TRENTON – Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee Chairman Paul Sarlo (D-Bergen) released the following statement on today’s New Jersey Supreme Court ruling:
“Last year, the only thing that could have made life worse for suburban school districts than Gov. Christie’s aid cuts would have been a return to the days of Abbott districts and court-ordered funding. Well, now we’re here.
“For the 30-plus Bergen County school districts that suffered the most under the governor’s cuts, and who continue to be underfunded, today’s ruling provides no help. And, based on his statements to the press essentially side-stepping any responsibility, the Governor is not inclined to extend a hand, either. That means it will rest with the Legislature to do what is right by all of our students.
“I support the Senate President’s call to dedicate every penny of our anticipated revenue windfall to not only meet the Court’s mandate, but to actually go beyond it to help those districts who were not part of today’s ruling. For the 174 suburban districts who have been underfunded because of the governor’s decision to toss aside the law, we now have a chance to help them, their students and their property taxpayers. The reason we passed a constitutional funding formula was to move away from the past ‘us versus them’ arguments. We can use the budget process to once again silence that needless debate.
“In one short year, the governor’s policies have landed a devastating double-whammy against New Jersey’s suburban and rural school districts. In the roughly six weeks until the budget deadline, we must do what we can to reverse that damage.”