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On Friday NJ Education Report described the state of play in the state capitol, where Trenton City Council President Kathy McBride was refusing to allow her colleagues to to approve the school district budget because she doesn’t want any of the $419 million spending plan to go to charter school tuition.
Today the Trenton Board of Education sued the City Council for holding its budget hostage.
According to a statement given to the Trentonian, the Board says,
We have been open about our past challenges and the steps taken to mitigate the damage done. These challenges were not created overnight, nor could they have been resolved overnight. However, we are intent on making a turnabout at the Board of Education; and through the work done thus far, we can say there have been improvements. It is because of this that we must, regrettably, bring suit and ask the courts to intervene on our behalf.
The Board’s attorney, Jason Rolle, had this to say:
“The Defendant’s [McBride’s] failure to perform the required actions will lead to immense disruption of District programming and impair the ability of the District to provide a thorough and efficient education to its students. If recent history should serve as any indication, no action will take place absent this Court’s intervention.
The required appropriation is not ‘earned’ by the Board, nor is it subject to the personal feelings of individual members of the governing body. The appropriation is required by law as the local government’s contribution to a thorough and efficient education for its residents.
Each day that passes where Trenton Board of Education continues to be uncertain on what to expect for the upcoming 2022-23SY is a fresh wrong committed by the City of Trenton which serves to frustrate the purpose of providing an education for the students of this district.
The City of Trenton’s inaction and refusal to appropriate the monies due to Trenton Public Schools will result in public harm, confusion and disorder, and would serve to injure the rights of the students that Trenton Board of Education is charged with serving.”
McBride has justified her inaction by pointing to the “immense pressure of rising inflation,” even though the $24.2 million in tax levy is about half of Trenton’s Local Fair Share and a tiny portion of the district’s $419 million budget.