NJ Judge rules against Chris Christie: Budget cuts left N.J. schools unable to provide 'thorough and efficient' education"
(Check out the above video from a post I wrote last year to get an idea how explosive this situation is and how angry students are. It's always the poor, the elderly and the students who get harmed the most by conservative ideology. Back in April there was a massive student walkout protest over his sweeping state aid cuts in education.
Tea Party favorite Gov. Chris Christie received a severe blow to his education budget cuts by a Superior court judge:
Gov. Chris Christie's deep cuts to state school aid last year left New Jersey's schools unable to provide a "thorough and efficient" education to the state's nearly 1.4 million school children, a Superior Court judge found today.
Judge Peter Doyne, who was appointed as special master in the long-running Abbott vs. Burke school funding case, today issued an opinion that also found the reductions "fell more heavily upon our high risk districts and the children educated within those districts."
"Despite spending levels that meet or exceed virtually every state in the country, and that saw a significant increase in spending levels from 2000 to 2008, our 'at risk' children are now moving further from proficiency," he said.
“The difficulty in addressing New Jersey’s fiscal crisis and its constitutionally mandated obligation to educate our children requires an exquisite balance not easily attained,” Doyne wrote. “Something need be done to equitably address these competing imperatives. That answer, though, is beyond the purview of this report. For the limited question posed to the Master, it is clear the State has failed to carry its burden.“
Ouch. Chris Christie has spent only enough time to drink a cup of coffee in New Jersey as its governor so far, but since he's very good at bullying people, FOX News pundits just love him. He has yet to solve any problems there and when it comes to education, has refused to meet with protesters after he slashed education funding. Now he has to deal with this ruling.
As the article notes, Judge Doyne was appointed as a “special master” in this case, and so his finding today will go back to the state Supreme Court, which can choose to act on it. This seems likely to happen. “A special master’s report like this carries great weight with the higher court,” said David Sciarra, the executive director of the Education Law Center. “The evidence was exhaustive, detailed thorough and its conclusions are sobering about the impact of the funding cuts on students across the state, particularly poor students, regardless of where they live.”
Christie has not yet responded to the finding. If he is required by the state Supreme Court to find more funding to at-risk districts, perhaps the governor could reconsider some of his proposed tax cuts for corporations and millionaires.
Here's a few other Christie stories from C&L: Chris Christie's bullying style is inuring Americans to ugly discourse---Presidential Hopeful NJ Gov. Chris Christie: Where Wall Street Leads, He Follows---NJ Gov. Chris Christie Kills Major Transit Infrastructure Project
Where to begin? Is it more egregious that Gov. Chris Christie is trying to pin NJ budget woes on public workers' unions (and models his solutions on Grover Norquist) -- or that a "60 Minutes" producer allowed his misinformation to go unanswered?
First of all, New Jersey's pension problems came to a head in 1997, during the rein of one Christine Todd Whitman, who cooked up a high-risk scheme to finance tax cuts by refusing to make the state's mandated pension payments from general revenue. Instead, she and state treasurer Brian Clymer floated a $2.75 billion bond issue that would fund the payments.
In other words, she and Clymer were gambling that the market would generate enough money to cover their pension obligations, so they could borrow that money right away for tax cuts. (The state paid $23.9 million in bond fees, by the way. Plus interest.)
This was a radical idea for the time, and not everyone was thrilled with the plan. The mayor of Edison N.J. filed a lawsuit to stop it. The State Supreme Court refused a stay, saying the point was moot -- but agreed with the plaintiff that the bond authority was merely a legal shell created to get around the state's debt ceiling without putting it to a public vote.