On Jan. 19, Gov. Phil Murphy announced his support for a legislative package aimed at ensuring fiscal accountability at public institutions of higher education in New Jersey.

NJSBA President Irene LeFebvre attended the announcement at the Union High School Library as an invited guest of the governor.

The three bills would implement additional fiscal reporting and publication requirements for these institutions to ensure greater oversight and transparency. The bills will also ensure that the board members of these institutions receive ongoing training to ensure that they are equipped to adequately manage the fiscal operations of our public institutions of higher education.

The first bill (A-4970/S-3406) requires public institutions of higher education to submit an annual fiscal monitoring report to the Secretary of Higher Education and undergo a comprehensive audit every three years. The bill provides the Secretary of Higher Education the authority to order additional audits of any institution, as well as the authority to appoint a state monitor to directly oversee an institution’s fiscal operations and governance if the institution’s audits indicate fiscal instability or other negative fiscal impacts.

In conjunction with the first bill, the second bill (A-4971/S-3407) requires all public institutions of higher education in New Jersey to post a copy of their annual fiscal monitoring report and audited financial report or statements to their website in a manner understandable to the general public.

Under the remaining bill (A-4967/S-3436), governing board members of public institutions of higher education will be required to complete ongoing training programs that clarify their role and duty as a board member and the role of the board with respect to the financial management of the institution. Under the bill, the training requirements will be a condition of serving on the board.

Sponsors of one or more of these bills include Senators Joseph Cryan and Vin Gopal, as well as Assembly members Mila Jasey, Pamela Lampitt, John McKeon and Reginald Atkins.

Learn more about the package of bills in this news release from the governor’s office.