|1-19-17 Education in the News|
NJ Spotlight--Dems Seek School-Aid Fix, Fear Christie Will Push for Drastic Changes Via Budget
School funding has never been an easy issue for New Jersey, not even for political colleagues like Sweeney and Prieto who can’t agree on how to administer it fairly
Gov. Chris Christie isn’t due to present a new state spending plan until next month, but with lawmakers now starting to look more closely at the issue of education funding, the budget debate in many ways is already well underway.
Two legislative hearings have already been held this week on the school-funding issue, and several more are scheduled to be held over the coming weeks.
The hearings come as Senate President Stephen Sweeney (D-Gloucester) and Assembly Speaker Vince Prieto (D-Hudson) have been working to get ahead of the school-funding issue amid fears that Christie, a second-term Republican now in his final year in office, could be looking to force drastic changes to the state’s school-aid formula through the annual budget process this year.
John Reitmeyer | January 19, 2017
NJ Spotlight--NJ Supreme Court Ruling Could Leave Towns on Hook for 120,000 Affordable Units
Court rules housing responsibilities continued to accrue during 16-year period when affordable-housing regulation was in dispute
New Jersey municipalities will have to accommodate low-income residents who could not afford a place to live during a 16-year period when affordable-housing regulations were in dispute, the state Supreme Court ruled on Wednesday in another landmark decision.
While the full impact of the decision is unclear, it could mean municipalities being required to zone for 120,000 additional homes for low-income residents.
In the unanimous decision, the court further strengthened the constitutional obligation that all municipalities have to provide places to live for people of low- and moderate incomes, known as the Mount Laurel Doctrine because the original cases involved that Burlington County township. In this case, the fact that the state agency charged with determining municipal housing requirements and overseeing the process did not do its job properly for 16 years does not exempt towns from having to meet housing needs that existed during that period and continue to exist today.
Colleen O'Dea | January 19, 2017
Education Week--Education Department Withdraws Controversial ESSA Spending Proposal
That big fight over spending rules for the Every Student Succeeds Act has ended not with a bang, but a whimper: U.S. Secretary of Education John B. King, Jr. is throwing in the towel, withdrawing a proposed regulation for a section of the law known as "supplement-not-supplant" that had strong backing in the civil rights community, but angered state chiefs, advocates for districts, and Republicans in Congress.
The proposal was all but certain to be tossed by a Republican-backed Congress and the Trump administration.
The department's draft rule, released in August, would have pushed for districts and states to make sure they were spending roughly same amount of money—including for teachers' salaries—in schools that serve a sizeable population of poor students and less-poor schools.
Civil rights advocates applauded the secretary for trying to fix what they saw as a long-standing problem when it comes to making sure students in poverty get their fair share of resources. But advocates for districts and states said the regulation would have been nearly impossible to comply with and could have led to unintended consequences, including forced teacher transfers.
If the department had put through a final rule on the issue, it would very likely have been subject to the Congressional Review Act, a law that allows Congress to strike down new regulations that it disagrees with. Once lawmakers vote a particular regulation down, agencies are prohibited from crafting a similar rule until new legislation is passed.
Up until now, the "CRA" has only been used once. But now that Congress and the White House are in Republican hands, lawmakers have put a slew of Obama administration's regulations on their target list.
In explaining the department's decision Wednesday, Dorie Nolt, a spokeswoman for the agency, didn't mention the looming threat of congressional elimination. The department simply ran out of time to write a strong regulation, she said.
By Alyson Klein on January 18, 2017 5:42 PM
Garden State Coalition of Schools