NEW JERSEY –Finding a major part of the the 2011 budget proposal to be unconstitutional, the New Jersey Supreme Court ordered the Christie administration to increase education aid to the state’s poorest school districts by $500 million in the coming year.
While the additional aid ordered by the court was far less than the $1.7 billion requested by some schools advocates, it was still a blow to a governor who has made a national name for himself by cutting spending and assailing perquisites and benefits for public employees, particularly teachers. He has accused the teachers’ union, the New Jersey Education Association, and the courts of promoting the view that more money equals better schools, a position he says has been discredited by decades of failure.
“The constitutional ball is now in the legislature’s court,” Christie said during his response to the ruling. “It’s now up to the legislature to decide how that gets done and then send it to me for my consideration.”
According to the state constitution, the budget must be final by June 30.