A New Jersey appellate court has upheld Gov. Chris Christie's authority to withhold excess surplus from school districts this year.

In a http://www.judiciary.state.nj.us/opinions/a3361-09.pdf">decision issued Monday, the court said Christie did have both the statutory and constitutional right, in a fiscal emergency, to issue the executive order in February that withheld state aid from school districts based on the amount of money in the districts' excess surplus account.

The lawsuit was brought by the Perth Amboy school district, which lost $15.26 million in state aid as a result of the executive order.

 Christie's press secretary issued the following comment on the decision:

 This was among the most difficult decisions the Governor had to make shortly after assuming office to help close a $2 billion gap in the current year’s budget.  We know using surplus balances was a difficult step for school districts, but it was an urgent and necessary step amid a fiscal emergency.  In that sense the Governor is pleased that the Appellate Court recognized his significant responsibilities and executive authority during a fiscal and economic crisis.”