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March 31, 11

NEWS / Peter Verniero Joins State in Litigation over Education Funding Levels

TRENTON – The Attorney General’s Office announced today the retention of Peter G. Verniero as special counsel to assist in defending the State against a legal challenge over the adequacy of its education funding for fiscal year 2011.

Verniero is currently a partner at Sills Cummis & Gross P.C., where he chairs the Appellate Practice Group, as well as the firm’s Corporate Internal Investigations Practice Group. Verniero served on the New Jersey Supreme Court for five years before joining the Newark-based law firm. He also served as New Jersey’s Attorney General between 1996 and 1999.

“I have full confidence in the legal team that we have assembled to prepare and present the State’s position to the Supreme Court,” said Attorney General Paula T. Dow. “Peter Verniero has a long history of public service and is extremely knowledgeable about the long and difficult history of school funding decisions.”

In a matter still pending before the Supreme Court, the State is defending its education funding as adequate to provide a thorough and efficient system of public education, and necessary in light of current economic realities. The Education Law Center has challenged the state’s funding for schools, asserting that it falls short of what is needed and violates the School Funding Reform Act.

Last week, a Special Master assigned to hold hearings on the matter issued his report to the Supreme Court. Briefs commenting on the Special Master’s report are due from both parties on April 7, and reply briefs are due on April 14.

As Attorney General, Verniero previously argued two Abbott cases before the State Supreme Court as well as other prominent cases before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit. In private practice, he recently argued a case before the State’s Supreme Court.




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