September 21, 2016
By Steven Wishnia and Neal Tepel
Trenton, NJ – Gov. Chris Christie on Sept. 15 asked the New Jersey Supreme Court to let the state break union contracts to make it easier to fire teachers and change work rules in poor districts it funds.
The state attorney general’s office is arguing that in “Abbott districts,” where the state substantially augments education budgets under court orders from 1985 and 1990 to make school funding fairer, “contractual limitations” such as restrictions on how many hours teachers can work interfere with providing “a thorough and efficient” education. The 31 current Abbott districts include Camden, Hoboken, Jersey City, Newark, and Paterson. “This is not a legal strategy. It's a political ploy," New Jersey Education Association President Wendell Steinhauer responded. The governor is also calling for an amendment to the state constitution that would give equal amounts of per-pupil aid to all districts, which would have the effect of drastically cutting funds for several urban districts while increasing aid to more affluent suburban schools. Read more