The New Jersey Supreme Court on Jan. 30 denied the Christie Administration’s request for relief from previous court orders in the Abbott litigation.

Specifically, the Administration asked the court to authorize the Commissioner of Education to override provisions of statute and collective bargaining agreements affecting employee retention and dismissal if they “impede the delivery of a thorough and efficient education in certain School Development Authority (former Abbott) districts.” These provisions include seniority, staff compensation, and instructional time.

In responding to the Administration’s September 15, 2016 filing, the court reasoned that “direct challenges to the provisions in question have not been the subject of prior litigation in the Abbott line of cases.”

The Supreme Court, however, did not weigh the merits of the state’s argument concerning relief from certain aspects of collective bargaining agreement and statute. And it indicated that its denial was issued “without prejudice to the defendants’ (the state’s) right to file an action for relief in the trial court.”

The court order also denied the Administration’s request to “vacate its prior orders to fund the School Funding Reform Act according to the Act’s terms and instead authorize funding for [the former Abbott] districts at current levels” until a new funding system is established.

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