Press Release

NJSBA Hurricane Assistance Effort: Update

TRENTON, Nov. 12, 2012—The New Jersey School Boards Association’s Hurricane Sandy Assistance Effort has heard from approximately 40 potential donors from as far away as California and is in the process of matching up contributors with schools in need, the organization’s executive director, Dr. Lawrence S. Feinsod, reported today.

Launched Nov. 5, the program is aimed at identifying districts in need of assistance, determining their specific needs, providing information, and facilitating donations and cooperative arrangements.

“Continuity of instruction is critical for children,” explained Feinsod.  “NJSBA’s outreach project is aimed at helping public schools resume their education programs by providing information and connecting storm-damaged schools with districts and organizations that can provide needed equipment and supplies,”

NJSBA has set up a Hurricane Help Hotline at 1-888-88NJSBA, Ext. 5209 for school districts, companies and organizations that wish to donate equipment and supplies to schools severely affected by the storm.

Students and teachers at public schools and entire school districts have offered assistance, according to NJSBA.  Examples of schools in need and donors matched up through NJSBA’s Hurricane Sandy Assistance Effort include the following:

Beach Haven and Eagleswood Township* The Furniture Trust

Boston, MA

Desks and equipment
Beach Haven and Eagleswood Township* Upper Dublin Public Schools

Montgomery County, PA

Supply/equipment drive by students
Hoboken Dual Language Charter School The Furniture Trust

Boston, MA

Desks and equipment
Long Beach Island Consolidated Hidden Valley School

Marin County, CA

Adopt-a-School Fundraiser
Monmouth Beach Park Street School

Boston, MA

Book drive
Moonachie Cresskill Public Schools

Bergen County, NJ

Collection of supplies
Red Bank Borough Hillside School, Closter

Bergen County, NJ

Manasquan Randolph Twp. Public Schools

Morris County, NJ

Collection of supplies
Union Beach Hillsborough Public Schools

Somerset County, NJ

General supplies
Union Beach Verona Public Schools

Essex County, NJ

Collection of supplies

*The Beach Haven school, located on Long Beach Island, will relocate to a facility operated by the inland Eagleswood Township school district.  

“Superintendents in many of the severely affected school districts indicate that they are still in the process of assessing their needs in terms of lost supplies and damaged equipment,” explained Feinsod.  “The recovery process for many schools will be ongoing.  “We are encouraging local school officials to contact the NJSBA Hurricane Help Hotline (1-888-88NJSBA, Ext. 5209) with information about schools in which classroom equipment or supplies have been damaged or destroyed as a result of the hurricane.  In addition, schools, businesses and organizations that have equipment or supplies that they can share with a district severely affected by the storm are urged to call the hotline.”

By Thursday, Nov. 8, NJSBA’s field service representatives had reached out to all school districts in New Jersey.  Concerns cited by local school officials include locating displaced students, continued power outages, flood damage, gaps in communication with FEMA and the Office of Emergency Management about displaced students, transportation difficulties, and adjusting the school calendar to accommodate the 180-instructional-day minimum.  (On Friday, state Commissioner of Education Chris Cerf said his office would facilitate communication between school districts and the government relief agencies.)

To assist school districts further, NJSBA has established a Hurricane Relief webpage with information related to the storm’s impact on public schools. The webpage includes information items on school districts’ responsibility to provide 180 instructional days and statutory guidelines concerning contributions by public school districts.

NJSBA is also working cooperatively with other statewide organizations, including the New Jersey PTA, to broaden the school assistance effort

The New Jersey School Boards Association is a federation of 581 local boards of education and includes 81 charter school associate members. NJSBA provides training, advocacy and support to advance public education and promote the achievement of all students through effective governance.