SBOE Update: State Board Reaches Compromise on PARCC Graduation TestsSchool Board Notes, October 9, 2018

At its Oct. 3 meeting, the State Board of Education named the 2018-2019 Teacher of the Year and took action on a number of regulatory items.  Most notably, the board amended the New Jersey Department of Education’s (NJDOE) proposal concerning standardized assessment for the upcoming assessment cycle. The amended proposal reduces testing in high school from six tests to four.

Legislative Update: Education Commissioner Testifies on PARCC Changes; Legislature Advances School Bus Safety, Other School-Related MeasuresSchool Board Notes, September 18, 2018

The Senate and Assembly Education Committees held a joint hearing Sept. 17 and received testimony from the New Jersey Department of Education’s on its plans moving forward regarding Statewide assessments and its decision to reduce the importance of students’ test scores on teacher evaluations. Several other legislative committees also met and advanced bills related to school bus safety, student depression screenings, and the videotaping of public meetings.

NJSBA Applauds Agreement on Health Benefit ReformSchool Board Notes, September 18, 2018

Gov. Phil Murphy announced on Sept. 17 that the administration had reached an agreement with the state’s public employee unions to make changes in employee health benefits plans for both active and retiree members. The NJSBA has praised the agreement as a positive and meaningful first step toward controlling one of the fastest-rising costs in local school districts.

State Health Benefits Task Force Launches Website, Solicits Public InputSchool Board Notes, September 11, 2018

A website for the task force established by Governor Murphy in July was recently established. The website includes a Public Feedback section that will provide a forum for members of the public to offer suggestions to help inform the work of the task force. The task force has also announced a series of Public Listen Sessions.

Legislative Update: Governor Signs Vo-Tech, School Security Bond Measure; Voters to Decide its FateSchool Board Notes, September 5, 2018

Legislation signed into law on Aug. 27 will give New Jersey voters the final say on whether the state should borrow a half-billion dollars to finance various school district and county college capital projects.  Titled the “Securing Our Children’s Future Bond Act,” S-2293/A-3902(P.L.2018, c.119) would authorize the issuance of $500 million in general obligation bonds.

NJSBA Comments on Economic and Fiscal Policy Workgroup RecommendationsSchool Board Notes, August 21, 2018

The New Jersey School Boards Association is in the process of reviewing the proposals made in “Path to Progress,” the recently released New Jersey Economic & Fiscal Policy Workgroup recommendation paper.

Legislative Update: Governor Approves Recess Bill, Other Education-Related MeasuresSchool Board Notes, August 21, 2018

Over the past two weeks, Gov. Phil Murphy has signed into law various pieces of legislation that will impact New Jersey’s public school districts and students.  These measures concerns mandatory recess, school safety specialist eligibility, computer science endorsements, “sexting” instruction, public-private partnerships, and auditing of the state health benefits plans.

SBOE Update: State Board Hears About Proposed Changes to State AssessmentsSchool Board Notes, August 7, 2018

At its regular monthly meeting, the State Board of Education heard about the NJDOE’s plans to modify the state assessment program.

Legislative Update: Senate Committee Advances School Bus Safety MeasuresSchool Board Notes, August 7, 2018

The Senate Transportation Committee recently approved a series of bills aimed at enhancing the safety of students who ride the bus to and from school.

SBOE Update: State Board Elects Leaders, Receives Update on Standardized Testing – School Board Notes, July 24, 2018

At its July monthly meeting, the State Board of Education elected a president and vice president, and heard updates from the NJDOE on standardized testing in the state.

Governor Signs School Funding Reform Legislation – School Board Notes, July 24, 2018

Gov. Murphy on July 24 signed S-2, which makes major changes to the state’s school funding formula. The legislation, which takes effect in 2019-2020, will immediately repeal the enrollment growth aid caps and will eliminate adjustment aid over a seven-year period while allowing adjustments to the tax levy cap for certain school districts.

Changes Coming to Standardized Testing in New Jersey – School Board Notes, July 10, 2018

On July 10, Gov. Phil Murphy announced draft regulations and other changes concerning standardized testing of the state’s public school students. NJSBA responded positively to the proposal.

Legislative Update: Billion-Dollar School Bond Bill Heads to Governor – School Board Notes, July 10, 2018

The Legislature sent the governor the “Securing Our Children’s Future Bond Act,” which could make $1 billion available to finance various capital projects at New Jersey’s public school districts and county colleges.

Governor, Lawmakers Reach Budget Compromise (Updated July 5) – School Board Notes, July 3, 2018

On June 30, with only hours to spare before a government shutdown, the governor and legislative leaders agreed on a $37.4 billion state budget.

Legislative Update:  Budget Deadlock Continues; School-Related Bills Go to GovernorSchool Board Notes, June 26, 2018

The state Legislature has voted to approve and send to the governor’s desk school funding reform legislation, a fiscal year 2019 appropriations act, and several measures that affect school districts. Lawmakers and Gov. Phil Murphy continue their budget discussions ahead of the July 1 beginning of the new fiscal year.

Legislative Update: Ed Committees Move Child Abuse, School Security Measures; Gov. Signs Gun Safety BillsSchool Board Notes, June 19, 2018

On Thursday, June 14 the Senate Education Committee moved several legislative measures aimed at preventing child abuse and sexual assault in schools. On Monday, June 18 the Assembly Education Committee approved a series of bills intended to enhance security in the state’s public schools. Last Wednesday, Gov. Phil Murphy signed into law a package of bills intended to promote firearm safety and stem gun violence.

Amended School Funding Bill Approved by Budget CommitteesSchool Board Notes, June 19, 2018

On Tuesday, June 19, the state Senate and Assembly budget committees amended and approved legislation modifying school funding, S-2 and A-2, respectively. The amendments adopted by both committees would eliminate the caps on state aid increases resulting from enrollment growth. At the same time, they would make changes in the proposed phase-out of adjustment aid and other “over-funded” aid categories.

SBOE Update: State Board of Education Receives Updates on State-Run Districts – School Board Notes, June 12, 2018

At the most recent monthly State Board of Education meeting, held on June 6, the board heard updates and took actions on a variety of items.

Legislative Update: Gun Control Measures Sent to GovernorSchool Board Notes, June 12, 2018

The Senate and General Assembly have given final legislative approval toa package of bills intended to promote firearm safety and stem gun violence.  Consistent with policy language adopted at the May 19 Delegate Assembly, the NJSBA advocated in support of the proposed enhancements and changes to laws governing firearms access.

Update on Senate Bill 2School Board Notes, June 12, 2018

Next year’s state aid to public education remains unresolved as Gov. Phil Murphy and legislative leaders negotiate over the 2018-2019 budget. In late May, Senate President Steve Sweeney introduced legislation, S-2, that would modify New Jersey’s school funding statutes, changing the 2018-2019 state aid allocations proposed in the governor’s recommended budget. In a statement, NJSBA Executive Director Dr. Lawrence S. Feinsod expressed support for the principle behind the legislation.

State Task Force to Explore Health Benefits Reform – School Board Notes, June 5, 2018

Gov. Phil Murphy recently announced the formation of the State Health Benefits Quality and Value Task Force. The group will identify reforms and cost-saving strategies for the State Health Benefits and School Employee Health Benefits Programs. The task force includes health policy experts, state government officials, representatives of public employee unions, and representatives of public employers, including the New Jersey School Boards Association. Jonathan Pushman, NJSBA legislative advocate, will serve on the panel.

Legislative Update: Governor Approves Joint Bracketing and Student Nutrition MeasuresSchool Board Notes, June 5, 2018

On Wednesday May 30, Gov. Phil Murphy took action on more than a dozen pieces of legislation that were sent to his desk earlier this spring. Several bills will have a direct impact on school districts and students, including one measure that will allow school board candidates to file joint petitions and run as slates.  The governor also approved a package of bills aimed at promoting student health and nutrition.

Senate Proposal Would Change 2018-2019 State Aid Allocations – School Board Notes, June 5, 2018

Senate President Steve Sweeney on May 31 introduced legislation (S-2) that would modify the state’s school funding statutes, changing the 2018-2019 state aid allocations proposed in the governor’s recommended budget. Those figures were transmitted to school districts in March.

School Funding Advocacy Forum Held – School Board Notes, May 30, 2018

NJSBA Governmental Relations Director Michael Vrancik spoke about school funding during a regional forum held at Brookside Elementary School in Monroe Township. The session was one of three held by NJSBA to share information on school funding and ways that local districts can advocate for their share of state school aid.

Legislative Update: Bill to Cap Sick Leave Payouts Clears Committee – School Board Notes, May 30, 2018

On Wednesday, May 23 the Assembly State and Local Government Committee unanimously approved a measure intended to reign in the cost of paying public employees for unused sick leave upon retirement.

Legislative Day Draws Lawmakers, Board Members, Parents – School Board Notes, May 22, 2018

School funding, PARCC testing, and school security were among the topics discussed at NJSBA’s eighth annual Legislative Day, held on Thursday, May 17 at the War Memorial in Trenton.

Legislative Update: Governor Signs Union-Backed Workplace Democracy Enhancement Act; NJSBA Supports Gun Control Measures – School Board Notes, May 22, 2018

Gov. Phil Murphy signed into law legislation designed to ensure New Jersey’s public sector unions have sufficient access to the employees they represent.  Entitled the “Workplace Democracy Enhancement Act,” the bill is a direct response to pending litigation before the United States Supreme Court, Janus v AFSCME, which challenges the constitutionality of union “agency shop” or “fair share” fees.  Also, the Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee approved a package of NJSBA-supported bills aimed at reducing gun violence and increasing firearm safety.

Legislative Update: Education Committees Meet – School Board Notes, May 15, 2018

Several legislative panels, including both the Senate and Assembly Education Committees, returned to the State House over the past week and advanced a number of bills impacting local school districts and students.

School Funding Advocacy Forum Held – School Board Notes, May 8, 2018

With the state budget appropriations process ongoing, NJSBA held a training session in West Orange for board members on school funding and advocacy for local districts.

SBOE Update: State Board of Education Ends State Control of Paterson Schools – School Board Notes, May 8, 2018

The State Board of Education on May 2 voted to end state operation of the Paterson school district, and began the process of a transition back to local control for the large city district. In other business, the State Board also heard a variety of reports and took action on a number of items at its monthly meeting.

Acting Commissioner Testifies at Budget HearingsSchool Board Notes, April 24, 2018

Acting Commissioner of Education Lamont Repollet testified on April 17 before the Senate Budget Committee concerning the proposed FY2019 state budget. Dr. Repollet expressed willingness to work with the Legislature to make changes to the FY2019 state aid allocations. On April 23, Dr. Repollet delivered a similar message to the Assembly Budget Committee.

Legislative Update: Governor Signs Child Protection Measure, Legislature Approves Union-Backed “Janus” Bill – School Board Notes, April 17, 2018

Gov. Phil Murphy signed legislation aimed at protecting children, by preventing school employees with a history of sexual abuse or misconduct against students from easily moving from one job to the next. On Thursday, April 12, both the General Assembly and Senate held voting sessions and sent several school-related bills, including the “Workplace Democracy Enhancement Act,” to the governor for his consideration.

SBOE Update: State Board Reviews School Security Requirements – School Board Notes, April 17, 2018

At its most recent monthly meeting, held April 11, the State Board of Education received updates and took action on a variety of items. In addition, NJDOE reviewed security requirements for schools in New Jersey.

Legislative Update: Joint Hearing Explores School Security – School Board Notes, April 10, 2018

Last Thursday was a busy day for the Legislature in Trenton. The day began with a joint hearing of the Assembly and Senate Education Committees, which took testimony from invited guests on the issue of school safety and security. Several legislative committees also met that day, and advanced various bills impacting local school districts.

Senate, Assembly Education Committees to Hold Joint Hearings on School Security – School Board Notes, April 3, 2018

The Senate Education Committee and the Assembly Education Committee will host three joint meetings in April to hear testimony from invited guests, as well as members of the public, on issues related to school security. The first will take place at the State House in Trenton. The committees have also scheduled one hearing in both the northern and southern region of the state.

Legislative Update: Senate Adds $250 Million in School Security Grants to Bond Issue, Approves Package of Student Nutrition Measures – School Board Notes, March 27, 2018

On Monday, March 26 both the Senate and General Assembly convened for voting sessions,  and advanced several bills impacting local school districts.  The Senate approved a package of bills intended to promote student health and nutrition, and also approved the addition of $250 million in school security grants to pending legislation that was originally intended to expand the state’s county vocational technical schools.

Senate Judiciary Committee Unanimously Confirms Repollet as Commissioner – School Board Notes, March 27, 2018

Dr. Lamont O. Repollet, who has been nominated by Gov. Phil Murphy to serve as Commissioner of the Department of Education, was unanimously confirmed by the Senate Judiciary Committee. The confirmation now moves to the full Senate for a vote.

Legislative Update: Assembly Committee OK’s “Overreaching” Union Access Bill – School Board Notes, March 20, 2018

The Workplace Democracy Enhancement Act, A-3686, was released by the Assembly Labor Committee on Monday, March 19. This legislation would impose various requirements on public employers to ensure that labor organizations have access to, and the ability to communicate with, public employees.

Legislative Update: Assembly Ed Committee Meets – School Board Notes, March 13, 2018

The Assembly Education Committee met on Monday, March 12 and released the following bills, pertaining to public school temperature controls, panic alarms and student nutrition.

Governor Proposes $283.6 Million Increase in Formula Aid to Schools – School Board Notes, March 13, 2018

New Jersey’s public school districts would see a $283.6 million increase in “formula aid” under Gov. Phil Murphy’s proposed 2018-2019 state budget. No school district would experience funding cuts under the plan. In his first annual budget address to the Legislature, Murphy outlined a proposal that would increase funding to 94 percent of the state’s school districts, avoid education funding cuts to any school system, expand pre-kindergarten programming, and advance education in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM).

Legislative Update: Bills on Chronic Absenteeism, School Breakfast, Summer Meal Programs Advance – School Board Notes, March 6, 2018

On Monday, March 5, the Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee met and approved three NJSBA-tracked bills that were released by the Senate Education Committee last month.

Legislative Update: Child Protection Measure Sent to Governor’s Desk; Senate Ed Committee Focuses on Student Nutrition – School Board Notes, February 27, 2018

The state Senate on Monday, Feb. 26, gave final legislative approval to a measure aimed at protecting New Jersey students by keeping individuals with a history of sexual misconduct or child abuse out of the state’s public schools. The Senate also advanced legislation that would repeal the cap on superintendent salaries. On Thursday, Feb. 22, the Senate Education Committee held a meeting focused primarily on improving student health and increasing participation in school breakfast and lunch programs. The committee also revisited a measure concerning chronic absenteeism.

NJSBA Offers Sample Resolution on Military-Style Assault Weapons

Many boards of education have contacted NJSBA, asking for a sample resolution to address access to firearms, effective delivery of mental health services, and funding for security measures. As a service to its members, NJSBA has prepared a sample resolution, which local school boards can adapt to express their position on this critical issue.

Legislative Update: Assembly Advances Student Protection Measures – School Board Notes, February 21, 2018

On Thursday, Feb. 15, the General Assembly convened its first voting session of the 2018-2019 legislative session. Among the measures passed by the Assembly was a package of bills intended to prevent sexual abuse, misconduct and harassment among public school employees and students.

Legislative Update: Assembly Education Committee Holds Hearing on Sexual Misconduct and Abuse – School Board Notes, February 13, 2018

On Tuesday, Feb. 13, the Assembly Education Committee held a hearing focused on the subject of sexual misconduct and abuse in New Jersey’s schools.   The committee received testimony from invited guests regarding the issue, including district practices for reporting sexual misconduct committed by students and school personnel; compliance with federal reporting requirements; and public dissemination of this information.

Legislative Update: New Assembly Education Chair Holds First Meeting; Senate Advances Child Protection MeasureSchool Board Notes, February 6, 2018

On Thursday, Feb. 1, Assemblywoman Pamela Lampitt (D-6) convened the first meeting of the Assembly Education Committee of the 2018-2019 legislative session. Also, the full Senate convened for its first voting session of the new legislative session.

Senate President Sweeney Discusses Issues before New Legislative SessionSchool Board Notes, January 30, 2018

New Jersey Senate President Steve Sweeney joined host Ray Pinney on NJSBA’s “Education Matters” video program recently. Sweeney discussed his views on the state budget, school funding, regionalization, and the state’s pension and health benefit obligations, as well as his relationship with other state leaders.

State Board Approves Acting CommissionerSchool Board Notes, January 30, 2018

On Jan. 29, the State Board of Education held a special meeting to interview Dr. Lamont Repollet, Gov. Phil Murphy’s choice to lead the state department of education.  Following the interview, the State Board took a unanimous vote to hire him as the assistant commissioner of teaching and learning, which  paved the way for him to be named New Jersey Acting Commissioner of Education at the conclusion of the meeting.

Legislative Update: Senate Education Committee Takes on Salary Caps, Full-Day Kindergarten and MoreSchool Board Notes, January 30, 2018

The 2018-2019 legislative session has begun with numerous education-related bills under consideration, including one that would eliminate the superintendent salary cap. On Thursday, Jan. 25, the Senate Education Committee met to consider an ambitious agenda, releasing several measures that would have a significant impact on school district operations and finances.

Districts Petition Education Commissioner for State Aid RemedySchool Board Notes, January 17, 2018

Ten school districts have filed a petition with the New Jersey Commissioner of Education to address “ongoing inequities in the distribution of state aid to schools.” The legal action is intended to resolve a situation faced by 96 school districts that are “both overtaxed and severely underaided.”

New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy Inaugurated in TrentonSchool Board Notes, January 17, 2018

Former U.S. ambassador Phil Murphy was sworn in as New Jersey’s 56th governor and called on the state to “write a new chapter” to include leadership, vision and “understanding the power of thinking big.”

New Education Commissioner NamedSchool Board Notes, January 17, 2018

The superintendent of the Asbury Park School District, Dr. Lamont Repollet, has been named the state’s next commissioner of education.