Jon Bramnick wants Gov. Phil Murphy to say where he stands on a lawsuit seeking to combat school segregation in New Jersey partly by merging local school districts into ones at a county level.
“One of the remedies requested is to no long allow the local parents in a local town such as Westfield to control the school and have a local school board,” the Assembly minority leader said. “I am asking Gov. Murphy to state what is your position on whether or not you’re going to eliminate local control by local parents of local schools.”
A coalition of civil rights groups led by former New Jersey Supreme Court Justice Gary Stein last year sued the state, claiming a state law that requires students go to public schools in the towns where they live created schools that where the student body was almost entirely black or Latino.
New Jersey’s constitution explicitly bars school segregation.
Part of the coalition’s suit calls for the creation of larger school districts incorporating multiple municipalities or even creating countywide districts.
The suit and the fixes it pushes have the potential to be a potent campaign issue in the 21st legislative district, where towns are generally affluent and property taxes high.
“I am asking Gov. Murphy to state what is your position on whether or not you’re going to eliminate local control by local parents of local schools,” Bramnick said. “This is a case against the state of New Jersey, and the issues in that litigation are broad, and they deserve debate on the floor of the legislature. They deserve a response from the governor.”