are school districts
covered by a New Jersey Supreme Court
ruling that found that the education provided to urban school children was inadequate and unconstitutional. The Court in Abbott II and in subsequent rulings, ordered the State to assure that these children receive an adequate - and constitutional - education through implementation of a comprehensive set of programs and reforms, including standards-based education supported by parity funding; supplemental programs; preschool education; and school facilities improvements.
The Court in Abbott II explicitly limited the Abbott programs and reforms to a class of school districts identified as "poorer urban districts" or "special needs districts." In 1997, these districts became known as "Abbott districts." The Court identified the specific factors used to designate districts as "Abbott districts." These districts:
- must be those with the lowest socio-economic status, thus assigned to the lowest categories on the New Jersey Department of Education's District Factor Groups (DFG) scale;
- "evidence of substantive failure of thorough and efficient education;" including "failure to achieve what the DOE considers passing levels of performance on the High School Proficiency Assessment (HSPA);"
- have a large percentage of disadvantaged students who need "an education beyond the norm;"
- existence of an "excessive tax [for] municipal services" in the locality where the district is located; and
Using these factors, the Court in Abbott II identified 28 districts as Abbott districts. The Court also gave the New Jersey Legislature or the Commissioner of Education the authority to classify additional districts as Abbott districts based on these factors, which would then entitle the children to the Abbott programs and reforms. In 1998, the Legislature classified 3 additional districts, bringing the present total of Abbott districts to 31.
The following school districts are currently identified as Abbott Districts: