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New Jersey Supreme Court Rejects Challenge to School Facilities Financing

In a case of interest to school facility advocates across the country, the New Jersey Supreme Court has upheld the constitutionality of the Education Facilities Construction and Financing Act (Act), in Lonegan v. State. Plaintiffs challenged the Act under the Debt Limitation Clause of the state constitution, a clause that parallels debt limitation clauses in many other state constitutions. The court found the Act constitutional for two separate and distinct reasons. First, the State had relied on the court's prior decisions, including Abbott v. Burke, when formulating the Act. Second, the Act was adopted in furtherance of the mandate of the state constitution's Education Provision. The Court also noted that it has decided a long line of cases in which it has approved a variety of contract debt statutes.

Prepared September 18, 2002