The New Jersey School Boards Association’s board of directors met in-person and virtually on Friday, March 15, 2024.

Karen Cortellino, M.D., president, presided over the meeting from the Association’s headquarters in Trenton. Immediate Past President Irene LeFebvre and Barry Fitzgerald, vice president for county activities; Chanta L. Jackson, vice president for legislation/resolutions; and Dr. Tom Connors, vice president for finance, also participated in the meeting from Association headquarters.  Dr. Timothy J. Purnell, executive director and CEO, provided his report to the board from headquarters.

The board of directors approved the following items:

  • NJSBA’s 2024-2025 budget.
  • Open session minutes of the Jan. 5, 2024, board of directors meeting.
  • Legislative Committee appointments.
  • Resolution subcommittee appointments.

Executive Director’s Report: Purnell addressed NJSBA activities, and the progress made in enabling school districts to meet the challenges presented to them to ensure that members continue to benefit from essential training, advocacy and direct service.

NJSBA 2024-2025 Budget: The board of directors unanimously approved the NJSBA 2024-2025 budget. This budget includes:

  • An average increase in members’ dues of 2%, or $267. There will be a large degree of variability in the dues increase for each member, based primarily on the change in their local district’s operating budget.
  • An increasing contribution of non-dues revenues compared to the 2023–2024 budget, most notably Workshop and fee-based services (strategic plans, BoardDocs, etc.)
  • Higher-than-inflation increases expected for certain noncontrollable expenses, such as health care costs, insurance and the employer’s contribution to the PERS retirement plan.
  • The creation of two new positions and the re-establishment of the deputy executive director position.
  • Funding of $550,000 from the Association’s free balance, though NJSBA management anticipates that this is a budgetary precaution and may not need to be utilized.

Workshop 2024: Workshop 2024 is taking place Oct. 21-24 at the Atlantic City Convention Center. The theme for this year is “Quest for Student Success.” The Workshop website, registration and housing open on April 1. Sponsorship sales through the first right of renewal are ongoing and exhibit floor booth and sponsorship opportunities will open to the public on April 1 as well. The call for student performance proposals is open now through April 19. The call for program proposals will be sent out in mid-April.

New features for this year’s conference include Learning Lab classrooms, an arcade, an information booth, digital signage and a Dual Enrollment and Career Readiness Exposition.

Last year, Workshop debuted a new program, Unsung Superheroes in Education, which recognized school staff members who are typically overlooked but are undoubtedly important to the success of New Jersey’s school districts and their students. This year, NJSBA is expanding the program and adding two new categories: human resource professionals and technology professionals. Nominations are now open and are due by May 1.

Governance I Revamp: NJSBA is in the process of evaluating and refreshing their mandated training courses, starting with Governance I. Gwen Thornton, director of field services and Carl Tanksley Jr., general counsel, have convened a task force that includes staff members and small group leaders to see what needs to be updated, what should be included in the course and how NJSBA can better present the information that new board members need. 

Municipal Associate Membership Program: NJSBA maintains affiliate membership programs for school attorneys through AMSPA and school human resource professionals through PAA and will be testing a new affiliate program. The Municipal Associate Membership program will be open to municipalities interested in benefiting from NJSBA initiatives such as the ACES Cooperative Pricing program, the ACES PLUS Energy Savings and Improvement program, and other initiatives that mutually benefit municipalities and school districts.

Delegate Assembly Resources: In recent months, NJSBA has noticed confusion among some boards of education concerning the role of the Delegate Assembly and what an effective resolution submittal looks like. To help address these concerns, NJSBA has developed two new resources for members. The first was posted on the NJSBA website in advance of the resolution deadline. It is a question-and-answer document that addresses what boards should think about before drafting a resolution. The second resource is a new video explaining the DA that will be shared with the membership.

Real Leaders Transparency Award: NJSBA was honored for transparency by Real Leaders, which is a business magazine and community that focuses on leadership. Purnell applied for the Real Leaders Impact Awards and then the Association was compared to similar school board associations throughout the nation and was selected with a Real Leaders Impact Award in the Accountability category and was rated most transparent.

The board of directors also received reports from the president, vice president for county activities, vice president for finance, vice president for legislation/resolutions and immediate past president, and detailed reports from NJSBA staff on advocacy, legislation and the NJSBA 2024-2025 budget.

Information items included Association financials, legal case summary, award of the ACES administrator contract, GO/4133.3R Meal Allowances, GO/8105R Associate Members, and written reports from officers.