New Jersey State Senator Michael Doherty, a member of the Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee, issued the following statement regarding the special master’s decision in the latest school funding case:
“Governor Christie got it exactly right in his budget address when he stated that ‘we must end the myth that more money equals better achievement. It is a failed legal theory, and we can no longer waste our children’s time or the public’s money waiting for it to finally work.’
“Over the years, New Jersey’s Supreme Court has ordered the public to endlessly ante up for more and more school funding. Today, New Jersey has the highest per-pupil spending of any state, over $14,000, and the districts formerly known as Abbotts have the highest per-pupil spending in the state, over $17,000. The districts formerly know as Abbott consume 57.4 percent of all state education aid, nearly $4 billion.
The Special Master freely admits that despite spending more money than almost anywhere else in America, these districts are still failing. Clearly, money is not the issue, yet Judge Doyne overlooks his own admission and recommends the state throw more money at a failing system.
“Because of the Supreme Court’s endless spending spree with the public’s money, New Jersey residents bear the highest total tax burden in the nation. The State of New Jersey is broke, the well has run dry and the taxpayers are beyond being fed up.
“We are in this position because the Court in its infinite wisdom failed to follow the clear text of the State Constitution. The obligation to fund a ‘thorough and efficient system of free education’ is the Legislature’s alone, not the Court’s. The Legislature must address the root causes of poorly performing districts rather than hoping that money will make them go away.”