The NJSBA Board of Directors met on Friday, March 15, 2019, at the Association’s headquarters in Trenton.

The Board of Directors approved the 2019-2020 Association budget. For the 10th consecutive year, there will be no increase in member dues. The budget represents the highest level of non-dues revenue and the lowest level of dues reliance in NJSBA history. It will reduce reliance on dues from 80 percent in fiscal 2010-2011 to 63.4 percent in 2019-2020. Revenue and expenditures will increase by 1.7 percent  under the finance plan, which totals $11.2 million. All current services will be maintained.

In addition, the board completed the evaluation of the Executive Director and voted unanimously to approve a new, three-year employment contract for July 2019 through June 2021.

Executive Director’s Report Dr. Lawrence S. Feinsod provided an update on NJSBA activities and progress toward the goals of the current strategic plan.

Developing and Maintaining Relationships – On March 4, Senate President Steve Sweeney and Senator Steve Oroho of Sussex County visited NJSBA Headquarters for an interview about the recommendations in the Legislature’s “Path to Progress” report and other issues.

Last month, at the request of the Governor’s office, NJSBA coordinated a meeting with major statewide education organizations and Math for America, an organization that promotes the career growth of math and science teachers. Math for America is involved in a program that enables elementary school teachers to become STEM fellows.

NJSBA met with Lt. Col. Anthony Sampson, commander of the U.S. Air force 314th Recruiting Squadron to explore the possibility of establishing a relationship related to education opportunities and scholarships. The Air Force will have a presence on the Workshop 2019 Exhibit Floor. NJSBA’s unique relationship with another branch of service, the U.S. Army, focuses on STEAM education and continues to benefit school districts and students. On March 19, NJSBA will meet with Major General Frank M. Muth, commanding general of U.S. Army Worldwide Recruiting, at his request, to discuss our partnership.

STEAM Tank ChallengeSponsored by NJSBA and the U.S. Army, the STEAM Tank Challenge is entering its fourth year. The program gives students the opportunity to think like entrepreneurs, and design and invent. In its first year, 32 student teams entered the program. This year, the STEAM Tank Challenge attracted 560 entries. More than 2,000 children will participate. Ninety teams will compete in the final competition at Workshop 2019.

National School Boards Association NJSBA leaders attended the NSBA Equity Symposium and Advocacy Institute in late January. The program addressed the following issues: IDEA funding; school infrastructure; school safety; DACA; and the 2020 U.S. Census. The New Jersey delegation met with New Jersey’s new Congressional Representatives, including Mikie Sherrill, Tom Malinowski and Andy Kim, as well as with key staff of Senators Booker and Menendez, and other House members. Dr. Feinsod and President Dan Sinclair had a special meeting with Congressman Donald Norcross to discuss the final report of the NJSBA Task Force on Educational Opportunities for the Non-College Bound Learner

Workshop 2019– Ian Hocking, who founded the non-profit group “Dylan’s Wings of Change,” will be a keynote speaker at this year’s Workshop. Mr. Hocking named the organization in honor of his son, who was one of the children killed in the Sandy Hook school shooting. The organization works to develop youth leadership in schools through a program called “Wingman,” which teaches children to be empathetic, courageous and inclusive.

Dr. Feinsod also announced Dr. Lamont Repollet, commissioner of education, has granted NJSBA’s request for waivers for Workshop 2021, 2022 and 2023. State law requires commissioner waivers in order for local school districts to provide reimbursement for in-state overnight travel. To obtain a waiver, the sponsoring organization must “demonstrate that the conference is broad and multidisciplinary in scope, comprised of content-rich educational programming with important professional development opportunities and/or required training.” Waivers for Workshop 2018, 2019 and 2020 were granted previously.

The Workshop 2019 website went live on March 1. Program and hotel registration will begin on April 1. This month, Commissioner of Education

Advocacy On March 5, Governor Murphy proposed a state budget that increases formula aid by $206.2 million. NJSBA will testify at the upcoming hearings of the Senate budget and Appropriations Committee and the Assembly Budget Committee. NJSBA will advocate for fair funding for all school districts, but not at the expense of any student’s education.

The Governmental Relations team continues to be successful in encouraging lawmakers to block costly legislative proposals that impact districts’ ability to make critical financial decisions. One bill is a decades-old proposal that would restrict school boards from subcontracting non-instructional services. Another would extend tenure-like protection to non-certified staff. NJSBA has developed sample resolutions, which school boards can adopt to express their opposition to these proposals.

Recognition The Board recognized Kevin Ciak, who has served as NSBA representative to the Board of Directors. Under New Jersey School Boards Association bylaws, members of the NSBA leadership from New Jersey serve as non-voting liaison to the NJSBA Board of Directors. Kevin, the immediate past president of the national association, will complete his term as an officer at the end of the month, and the March 15 Board of Directors meeting was his last as NSBA liaison. Kevin was the first board member from New Jersey to serve as NSBA president in more than 50 years. He is a former NJSBA president and vice president.

The board also recognized retiring alternate members Karen Vick, who represented Gloucester County, and Anthony Fasano, who represented Sussex County. In addition, it welcomed new alternate member Karen Cortellino, M.D., of the Montville Township Board of Education, who will represent Morris County.

In addition, the Board of Directors:

  • Received reports from the president, immediate past president, vice president for county activities, and vice president for finance.
  • Engaged in a dialogue about School District Use of Social Media.

Information items included Association financials, Legal Case Summary, and the report of the NJSBA Nominating Committee.