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12 N.J.A.R. 321

Deptford, Twp. of; Deptford, Bd. of Ed. of v.
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Citation: 12 N.J.A.R. 321
Decision Date: 1987
Agency: DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION
Synopsis: The Deptford Board of Education appealed to the Commissioner of Education from the Deptford Township Council's reduction of the Board's proposed school budget after voters rejected the budget. The matter was transmitted to the Office of Administrative Law for a hearing. At the hearing the Board moved for summary decision restoring the entire amount of the budget because it alleged the Council did not provide a detailed statement giving the reasons for the cuts, as Brunswick, 48 N.J. 94 (1966). The Council had not provided such an analysis along with its resolution reducing the budget, but later sup- plied a statement as part of this appeal. The administrative law judge assigned to the case concluded that the fact the statement was not provided at the time of the resolution was not fatal to the Council's position. The judge denied the request for summary decision, con- sidered the specific reductions made by the Council and ordered that $79,950 in cuts be restored to the budget. Upon review, this initial decision was reversed by the Com- missioner of Education, who concluded that the Council's failure to provide a timely statement of reasons for the budget cuts should have resulted in summary judgment in favor of the Board. The Com- missioner ordered that the Council's reductions be restored to the budget. The State Board of Education affirmed the decision of the Com- missioner. The State Board held that a governing body must provide supporting reasons at the time it makes budget reductions. Failure to do so renders the reductions arbitrary. The Appellate Division reversed and remanded for consideration on the merits of the disputed budget reductions. Failure of the Council to provide a statement of reasons for budget cuts at the time the cuts were ordered did not preclude a review of the budget based on a statement submitted during the appeal. The New Jersey Supreme Court modified in part, affirmed in part and remanded to the Commissioner of Education. Raymond J. Zane, Esq., for petitioner (Zane, Lozuke & Baker, at- torneys) Eugene J. McCaffrey, Jr., Esq., for respondent (Albertson, Ward & McCaffrey, attorneys)
Citation Tracker rejected-Com'r of Ed.; affirmed -St. Bd.; reversed & remanded-225 N.J. Super. 76 (App. Div. 1988); modified in part, affirmed in part, remanded-116 N.J. 305 (1989) [Updated through 1991]