According to a report filed on Thursday by the Center For American Progress, the GOP legislators don’t want more money to go to poor schools and are trying to punish or threaten judges who ordered the state to give more money to disadvantaged districts.
The report highlights about 4 cases including New Jersey, Alaska, Kansas and Washington where Republican legislators tried to punish the states by attempting to stop funding for courts, ousting specific judges or restricting their judicial authority. For instance in New Jersey, the state Supreme Court ruled that the legislature’s 2010 budget cuts to education were unconstitutional and Governor Chris Christie denied tenure to a respected Justice and stated his intention to remake the court.
The report explains that American school systems are funded from local state property taxes therefore districts with wealthier residents and higher property values are better off than districts with lower-income residents. Legislatures do step in to equalize this system by providing the disadvantaged districts with more money but the report says legislators have become reluctant to do so since the Great Recession.
There are other cases in state courts across the country regarding inequitable school funding systems but Billy Corriher the author of the report and Director of Research for Legal Progress at American Progress says he is worried how legislators are behaving in places like New Jersey as it may affect future rulings.