The within matter having been initiated by the Boards of Education of Asbury Park, Keansburg, Passaic, Phillipsburg, and Trenton (Boards) on an application for emergent relief in respect of the Boards' appeal from the Supplemental Opinion of the Appellate Division, Asbury Park Bd. of Educ. v. N.J. Dept. of Educ., ___ N.J. Super. ___ (Decided February 27, 2004);
And the Appellate Division having considered whether this Court's Order filed July 23, 2003, Abbott v. Burke, 177 N.J. 596 (2003) (Abbott XI), permitted the Department of Education (DOE) to establish Additional Abbott v. Burke State Aid for the Abbott districts by setting final maintenance budget figures for 2003-2004 based on actual 2002-2003 expenditures by the districts rather than the districts' 2002-2003 approved budgets, Asbury Park Bd. of Educ., supra;
And the Appellate Division having determined that N.J.A.C. 6A:10-1.2 and N.J.A.C. 6A:10-3.1(c), which together define a maintenance budget for 2003-2004 as a budget limited to "2002-2003 approved and provided programs, services, and positions," are "facially valid" such that the determination of final maintenance budget figures may be based on actual 2002-2003 expenditures by the districts, id. at ___ (slip op. at 14-15);
And Judge Coburn, in dissent, having concluded that this Court's Order required the DOE to accept the 2002-2003 approved budgets for 2003-2004,"as increased for non-discretionary items, and as reduced for such inefficiencies as it could identify[,]" id. at ___ (Coburn, J.A.D., dissenting) (slip op. at 9);
And the Boards having moved for summary reversal on their appeal as of right based on Judge Coburn's dissent, R. 2:2-1(a)(2);
And the Court having reviewed the record and having considered the briefs and oral argument of the parties and amicus curiae Education Law Center (ELC);
And the Court having considered the within matter in light of the specific proposal submitted by the DOE during mediation on the DOE's motion for modification of the decision in Abbott v. Burke, 153 N.J. 480 (1998) (Abbott V) to extend by an additional year the one-year relaxation of remedies previously granted in Abbott v. Burke, 172 N.J. 294 (2002)(Abbott IX);
And that proposal having set forth language delineating the relief sought as:
Abbott districts that apply for supplemental aid shall be awarded the amount of supplemental funding needed to maintain the effective and efficient programs, services and positions approved as part of the district's 2002-2003 budget either in the initial budget review process for 2002-2003 or as a result of a district appeal.
1. Maintenance means that a district will be funded at a level that will enable it to continue implementing the current approved
programs, services and positions and therefore includes actual documented increases in non discretionary expenditures.
And the Court having accepted by its Order filed May 21, 2003 a timetable proposed by the ELC and the DOE for an expedited budget process to be ...