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NEW JERSEY

Abbott v. Burke, 163 N.J. 95, 748 A.2d 82 (N.J. 2000) (“Abbott VI”).

The Court found that the state had not acted in bad faith in failing to carry out the Court’s mandate in Abbott, but found that the manner in which the department of education had carried out the court’s preschool mandate was not consistent with the department’s representations to the court. The Court ruled that preschool programs could be provided by contract with licensed day care providers as long as those providers were staffed with certified teachers, and ordered the department of education to adopt substantive guidance for all preschool programs. The Court refused to grant plaintiffs’ request for appointment of a special master.The Court again declined to appoint a special master in 2002. Abbott v. Burke, 170 N.J. 537, 790 A.2d 842 (2002) (“ Abbott VIII”).

Abbott v. Burke, 153 N.J. 480, 710 A.2d 450 (N.J. 1998) (“Abbott V”).

In the fifth decision of the Supreme Court of New Jersey in litigation filed in 1985 on behalf of the state’s poor urban children, the Court ordered implementation of a plan for the state’s “special needs school districts” that included provisions for whole school reform, full-day kindergarten, half-day preschool for three- and four-year olds, supplemental programs as needed to provide for on-site health and social services, adequate school security, drop-out reduction programs, and summer school and after-school programs, and adequate school facilities.

Abbott v. Burke, 149 N.J. 145, 693 A.2d 417 (N.J. 1997) (“Abbott IV”).

The Court ruled that the legislature’s next action, the Comprehensive Educational Improvement and Financing Act, was facially constitutional in its adoption of Core Curriculum Content Standards but unconstitutional as applied to the special needs districts because it failed to guarantee sufficient funds to enable students in those districts to achieve the requisite academic standards, its supplemental programs were not based n a study of actual need or the cost of meeting that need, and it failed to address facilities problems; and ordered the state to provide parity funding for each special needs district, directed firm administrative controls on district spending, and remanded the case for additional hearings as to appropriate remedy.

Abbott v. Burke, 136 N.J. 444, 643 A.2d 575 (N.J. 1994) (“Abbott III”).

The Court ruled that the legislature’s response to the decision in Abbott II, the Quality Education Act of 1990, was unconstitutional as applied to the special needs districts because it failed to ensure parity of educational spending.

Abbott v. Burke, 119 N.J. 287, 575 A.2d 359 (N.J. 1990) (“Abbott II”).

The Court ruled that, on the basis of the record made before the administrative law judge, Abbott v. Burke, No. EDU 5581-88 (OAL 1988), the Public School Education Act of 1975 was unconstitutional as applied to the state’s 29 poorest urban districts (“special needs districts”) and ordered that the act be amended or new legislation passed to ensure substantial equality in funding between the special needs districts and the state’s property-rich districts. The Supreme Court of New Jersey referred in this case to a thorough and efficient education as “one that will enable [their] students to function effectively in the same society with their richer peers both as citizens and as competitors in the labor market…an education that is the substantial equivalent of that afforded in the richer districts.” See also Abbott v. Burke, 149 N.J. 145, 166-67, 693 A.2d 417, 428 (1997).

Robinson v. Cahill, 69 N.J. 449, 355 A.2d 129 (N.J. 1976).

The Supreme Court found the Public School Education Act of 1975 to be facially constitutional, and found that it complied with the Robinson requirement that local districts be afforded a means of overcoming budget shortfalls. The court concluded that the Act addressed previous disparities is per-pupil expenditures and that any need for modification could become apparent after implementation, and refused to grant plaintiffs’ request for an injunction restraining its implementation. The injunction was later granted when the legislature failed to fund the act, Robinson v. Cahill, 70 N.J. 155, 358 A.2d 457 (N.J. 1976), and then dissolved when legislation was passed to fully fund it, Robinson v. Cahill, 70 N.J. 465, 360 A.2d 400 (N.J. 1976).

Robinson v. Cahill, 70 N.J. 155, 358 A.2d 457 (N.J. 1976).

The Supreme Court granted plaintiffs’ request for an injunction against implementation of the Public School Education Act of 1975, which had been adopted in response to its previous rulings and which it had ruled to be facially constitutional, Robinson v. Cahill, 69 N.J. 449, 467, 355 A.2d 129 (N.J. 1976), since the legislature had failed to fully fund the reforms authorized by the statute.

Robinson v. Cahill, 69 N.J. 133, 351 A.2d 713 (N.J. 1975), cert. denied sub nom. at Klein v. Robinson, 423 U.S. 913 (1975).

The Supreme Court of New Jersey ruled in this series of cases, predecessors to Abbott v. Burke, that the state’s system of financing elementary and secondary schools failed to meet the state constitution’s requirement of a “thorough and efficient” system of education, because of discrepancies in per-pupil spending among the state’s school districts.