The New Jersey School Boards Association’s board of directors met virtually Friday, March. 18. President Irene LeFebvre presided over the meeting from the Association’s headquarters in Trenton. Immediate Past President Michael McClure also participated in the meeting from headquarters. Vice Presidents Bruce Young, Tammeisha Smith and Karen Cortellino, M.D. participated virtually. Executive Director Dr. Lawrence S. Feinsod provided his report to the board from headquarters.

The board of directors approved the following items:

  • NJSBA 2022-2023 budget.
  • Open session minutes of the Jan. 28 meeting.
  • Legislative Committee appointments.

Executive Director’s Report Feinsod addressed NJSBA activities and the progress made in enabling school districts to meet the challenges presented to them, including those surrounding the public health crisis. He also highlighted the need to ensure members continue to benefit from essential training, advocacy and direct service.

NJSBA 2022-2023 Budget  The NJSBA 2022-2023 budget was approved unanimously by the board of directors at its March 18 meeting. The proposed NJSBA budget for the next school year includes a 5.8% increase in revenue and expenses versus last year’s budget. The increase in expenses is due primarily to the resumption of an in-person Workshop.  For the 13th consecutive year, district dues will be maintained at the current level, without an increase.

NJSBA’s K-12 Climate Change Education Needs Report Released Last month, NJSBA held a Facebook Live event to announce the release of its Report on K-12 Climate Change Education Needs in New Jersey. In June 2020, New Jersey became the first state in the nation to adopt standards that required schools to include climate change education across subject areas and grade levels. After the adoption of the standards, NJSBA and Sustainable Jersey convened a group that included local board members, as well as representatives from the state and federal government, New Jersey’s major education groups, nonprofit environmental advocacy groups, higher education and the private sector to study the issue and develop a report. The report includes 34 recommendations for implementing the standards. It can be found on the NJSBA website and was covered in the March 1 issue of School Board Notes. One outgrowth of the report is the formation of the New Jersey Climate Change Education Initiative, which is an effort to provide additional resources to New Jersey teachers. The hope is that the initiative will  become a national model for climate change education integration. NJSBA is participating in this effort.

State Budget  On March 8, Gov. Phil Murphy delivered his budget message, and local districts were notified about their state aid within two days, as required by law. The majority of districts  — about two-thirds — will have their formula aid increased, about one-third of the districts will see less aid as a result of the S-2 funding adjustments, and a handful of districts will experience flat funding. NJSBA will be testifying in the coming weeks at budget hearings. Among the budget line items we will be advocating strongly for are the $20 million for Stabilization Aid to assist districts adjusting to the S-2 funding levels, and $400 million for extraordinary special education costs for all districts. The budget also allocates $5 million for districts to implement the new climate change education standards.

STEAM Tank 2022 This year’s engagement numbers for STEAM Tank continue to amaze. There are 403 teams participating in this virtual program — 58 more than last year. That represents about 1,800 students.  More than 300 teams will proceed to regionals — and finals will be held virtually at the end of May, with an awards ceremony in June. The Association looks forward to sharing with NJSBA’s members some of the innovative ideas that will emanate from our STEAM Tank students.

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 and legislation, Workshop 2022, the NJSBA 2022-2023 budget, and policy review.

Information items included financials, legal case summaries, an NJSBA Delegate Assembly update and written reports from officers.