TRENTON, NJ— A request for a two-week extension has been awarded to the state of New Jersey to answer a lawsuit seeking to integrate New Jersey's schools, indicating that a settlement could be possible.
A new deadline of Sept. 14 has been set.
In a letter sent to Mercer County Superior Court Judge Mary Jacobson yesterday, state Attorney General Gurbir Grewal said that the request is to facilitate more discussion between the state and the plaintiffs, a group of public school children and civil rights and faith-based organizations such as the Latio Action Network and the NAACP New Jersey State Conference. The effort is being by coordinated by the New Jersey Coalition for Diverse and Inclusive Schools.
"We are encouraged to believe that an amicable resolution is possible," Grewal said in the letter. The request was granted on Friday, said Leland Moore, a spokesperson for the attorney general's office.
The coalition, led by former state Supreme Court Justice Gary Stein, said that they supported the state's request.
"We're obviously really happy that the administration thinks that there is an ability to get to a settlement on this," coalition Spokesperson Anthony Campisi said on Friday. "The goal is to get into place a remediation plan that addresses the civil rights concerns that we raised in our lawsuit ... we want a plan that achieves measurable results and moves forward quickly."
The group is tentatively scheduled to meet with the state next week for the first negotiating session, Campisi said.
The lawsuit, filed in May, claims that decades of residential segregation and state laws that require students to attend the schools in the towns where they live has led to rampant racial segregation. It calls for acting commissioner of the New Jersey Department of Education Lamont Repollet to devise a remediation plan to address the issue of school segregation within a time period of three months.
The lawsuit proposes two main solutions to school segregation in New Jersey: allow parents to send their children to schools outside of their home municipality through a voluntary transfer program, and create new inter-district magnet schools statewide.