On Saturday, June 27, representatives from New Jersey’s local boards of education tackled the business of NJSBA’s Delegate Assembly as they do twice a year–although the proceedings looked very different from usual. Delegates participated virtually through a videoconferencing service, and the NJSBA officers and staff conducting the meeting wore masks and were safely socially distanced.
However, as is customary, the group heard reports from NJSBA President Mike McClure, NJSBA Executive Director Dr. Lawrence S. Feinsod, and discussed and voted on two resolutions proposed by local boards.
Some 202 delegates and non-voting guests participated by videoconference; another 57 attended by calling into the teleconference line.
The delegates approved two resolutions to add language to the NJSBA Manual of Policies and Positions. The Association’s positions and policies help guide NJSBA’s advocacy at the state and federal level.
Sending District Board Representation The first resolution, submitted by the Alpha and Pohatcong boards in Warren County and the Bloomsbury board in Hunterdon County, sought to reduce the threshold requirements for representation of a sending board on the receiving district board of education. The three districts are K-8 districts that send students to Phillipsburg High School. Under current law, they do not qualify to have a representative on the board.
The existing statute provides that in order to have a representative on the receiving board, a sending district’s students must comprise at least 10% of the total enrollment of the students in the grades of the receiving district in which the sending district students are enrolled. If there are two or more sending districts that do not qualify for their own representation, but collectively their students comprise at least 15% of the enrollment in the grades of the receiving district, they can have two representatives on the board. If there are more than two sending districts that meet the threshold, they rotate representatives on the board.
The resolution, approved by a vote of 133 to 19, added language to the manual to the effect that limits on sending board representation should not foreclose any individual sending boards from participating on a receiving board of education.
Filling a Vacancy on a Regional Board The second resolution, proposed by the Springfield Township Board of Education in Burlington County, proposes new policy language requiring the constituent district of a regional board of education to make appointments to fill vacancies on the regional school board. Currently, that responsibility rests with the regional school board. The resolution passed with 115 yes votes, and 24 no votes. The approved resolution reads: “The NJSBA believes that a vacancy in membership of a board of education of a limited purpose regional school district should be filled by majority vote of the board of education of the constituent district represented by the former board member. Where the constituent district has no board of education of its own, the consolidated district from which the students originate shall be authorized to fill the seat with a qualified member from the constituent community.”