The Assembly failed to take action Feb. 25 on two measures that the NJSBA strongly opposes. One would constrain the ability of school districts to subcontract various services, while another establishes overreaching job protections for school support staff. The NJSBA is now asking our members to join in the Association’s advocacy efforts by approving resolutions formally opposing both measures.
NJSBA Opposed Anti-subcontracting, Arbitration Bills The first bill, A-3395, would place several burdensome and expensive hurdles in the way of school districts seeking to outsource non-instructional programs and services. The second, A-3664, would establish tenure-like protections for school district support staff and would subject a board of education’s personnel decisions to costly, protracted challenges through binding arbitration. Both bills would severely undermine a board’s ability to effectively and efficiently manage its resources and personnel.
“The New Jersey School Boards Association’s opposition to these bills and similar legislation has been firm and long-standing,” explained Dr. Lawrence S. Feinsod, executive director. “The proposals would obstruct a local school board’s ability to make critical financial and personnel decisions in the interest of students, taxpayers and the education program. In the end, they would increase school district costs while providing no educational benefit to students.”
Both of these measures have been around for several legislative sessions, and the NJSBA has aggressively and successfully fought back against their enactment at any time they gained traction in the Legislature. Most recently, the NJSBA testified against both measures when they were heard by the Assembly Labor Committee. While the bills were pulled from the Assembly board list on Monday, they could still receive a floor vote at future voting session. The next Assembly voting session is scheduled for Monday, March 25. The bills have not moved in the Senate to date.
When these bills surfaced in previous legislative sessions, the NJSBA asked its members to join in our advocacy efforts by approving resolutions opposing the measures. Updated versions of the resolutions can be accessed through the links below. The Association greatly appreciates our member districts’ participation in our quest to ensure these bills do not reach the finish line. Any questions on the bills or the sample resolutions may be directed to Jonathan Pushman, NJSBA legislative advocate, at (609) 278-5248 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Resolution Opposing A-3395/S-296 (Undermining a School Board’s Ability to Subcontract Services)
- Resolution Opposing A-3664/S-3089 (Requiring Binding Arbitration Over Personnel Decisions)
Senate Voting Session
The Senate convened for a voting session on Thursday, Feb. 21 and approved the following school-related measures:
Student Self-Administration of Medication A-4799/S-3315 requires a district or nonpublic school to permit the self-administration by a pupil of hydrocortisone sodium succinate, a medication designed to treat adrenal insufficiency. Adrenal insufficiency is a disorder in which the adrenal glands fail to produce sufficient amounts of steroid hormones, such as the stress hormone cortisol. Inadequate levels of adrenal hormones can result in an adrenal crisis, which may be life threatening without proper immediate treatment. The existing statutory provisions governing self-administration of medication for asthma or a life-threatening illness or allergic reaction would apply to the self-administration of adrenal insufficiency medication. The bill also requires that school districts establish a policy for the emergency administration of such medication. The policy would be modeled on the policy currently required for the emergency administration of epinephrine to pupils for anaphylaxis. NJSBA supports the measure, which has already been approved by the General Assembly and now heads to the governor’s desk.
School Readiness and Workforce Development Program S-371 establishes in the New Jersey Department of Education a five-year, two-generational school readiness and workforce development pilot program. The purpose of the program is to foster family economic self-sufficiency in low-income households by delivering academic and job readiness support services across two generations in the same household. The Commissioner of Education will designate the municipalities that will participate in the pilot program, each of which must have a poverty rate that is at least twice the statewide average. The pilot program will include services such as early learning programs; adult education; child care; housing; job training; transportation; financial literacy; and other related support services such as health and mental health services. The program will also include a long-term plan to adopt a model for the delivery of these services on a statewide basis. The bill establishes an interagency working group to oversee the pilot program and submit a report four years following the bill’s effective date that includes information on program outcomes, and includes a recommendation on program expansion. NJSBA supports the measure.
Recruiting Male Minority Teachers S-703 directs the New Jersey Commissioner of Education to establish a pilot program to recruit male residents of New Jersey who are from disadvantaged or minority backgrounds to enroll in the alternate route teacher preparation program and to match them with teaching opportunities in an underperforming school. Under the bill, the commissioner would select six underperforming schools from throughout the state for participation in the pilot program. The bill directs the commissioner to establish policies and procedures for the recruitment and selection of eligible participants for the program, and for matching the selected participants to teaching opportunities at participating schools under the alternate route program. Two years after the program starts, the commissioner would submit a report to the governor and Legislature, including a recommendation on the advisability of continuing and expanding the program. NJSBA supports the bill.
Sunscreen Policies S-1803 would require school districts to adopt a policy concerning a student’s use of sunscreen and sun-protective clothing, such as hats and sunglasses, while outdoors at school and school-sponsored functions. NJSBA supports the bill.
Task Force to Diversify Apprenticeships S-3064 establishes, in the State Employment and Training Commission, a task force to develop a statewide plan to diversify apprenticeships. The task force would develop a plan including industry-specific recommendations for affirmative action plans to increase diversity in apprenticeship programs. The development of the plan is to be based on the demographics of the state and data on historically under-represented groups, including groups designated by gender, race, and disability status. NJSBA supports the bill.
Apprenticeship Mentoring Program S-3068 requires the New Jersey labor commissioner, in consultation with the education commissioner, and the chief diversity officer of New Jersey, to establish a peer-to-peer statewide apprenticeship mentoring program for women, minorities, and people with disabilities. NJSBA supports the bill.
Parental Observation of Security Drills SR-86 urges public and nonpublic schools to annually provide the parents or guardians of students enrolled in the school the opportunity to observe a school security drill.
Assembly Voting Session
On Monday, Feb. 25, the full General Assembly approved the following bills:
Promoting Apprenticeships S-372/A-131 requires the New Jersey education and labor commissioners to develop guidelines for high school counselors to coordinate services with representatives of the New Jersey State Building and Construction Trades Council for purposes of encouraging student participation in apprenticeships and raising awareness of apprenticeship opportunities. The commissioner will post the guidelines on the education department’s website and will update the information annually. NJSBA supports the legislation, which has now passed both house of the Legislature.
Child Abuse Training for Teaching Candidates S-2711/A-4405 mandates child abuse and sexual abuse training for all candidates for teaching certification. Beginning with the 2020-2021 school year, all such candidates who have completed an educator preparation program shall have satisfactorily completed a course or training that includes the recognition of, and the requirement to report, child and sexual abuse. All commissioner-approved educator preparation programs will be required to review and update their programs to implement the bill’s requirements. NJSBA supports the legislation. The bill now returns to the Senate, which unanimously passed an earlier version of the bill, to concur with amendments made in the Assembly.
Nepotism Policies The Assembly voted to accept the governor’s recommendations on A-557, which requires the adoption of nepotism policies by school districts and charter schools. This legislation would put into statute many of the nepotism regulations currently governing school districts and charter schools. It also makes the positions of in-house school attorney and director of personnel subject to the nepotism policy.
A-557 received final legislative approval in December, but was conditionally vetoed by Gov. Murphy and returned to the Legislature with recommended changes. The governor’s conditional veto recommended that the Legislature make technical amendments and also include a provision that a district administrator including a director of personnel, or a school board attorney who has an immediate family member who is a member of the same statewide union in another district may serve as a technical resource to the negotiating team and may provide the technical information necessary to the collective bargaining process when no one else in the district can provide such information.
The bill now goes to Senate, which must also concur with the governor’s conditional veto, before it may be signed into law.
Career and Technical Education MonthAJR-180 designates the month of February each year as “Career and Technical Education Month” in New Jersey to recognize and promote the many benefits of career and technical education. NJSBA supports the resolution.