In 1998, the New Jersey Supreme Court ruled in the Abbott v. Burke case that the State must provide 100 percent funding for all school renovation and construction projects in special-needs school districts. According to the Court, aging, unsafe and overcrowded buildings prevented children from receiving the "thorough and efficient" education required under the New Jersey Constitution.
In response, the New Jersey Educational Facilities Construction and Financing Act (the "Act") was enacted on July 18, 2000, launching the School Construction Program. Full funding for approved projects was authorized for the 31 special-needs districts, known as 'Abbott Districts'. In addition, grants totaling 40 percent of eligible costs were made available to the remaining school districts across the state.