The NJSBA Board of Directors met virtually on Friday, May 8, 2020. President Michael R. McClure presided over the meeting from the Association’s headquarters in Trenton. Executive Director Lawrence S. Feinsod provided his report to the board from headquarters.
Action Items: The Board of Directors approved the following items:
- NJSBA 2020-2021 Budget
- Open session minutes of the January 17, 2020 Board of Directors meeting
- Open session minutes of the March 20, 2020 Board of Directors meeting
Executive Director’s Report Dr. Lawrence S. Feinsod provided a report on NJSBA activities, the progress toward meeting the challenges presented by the public health crisis, and effort to ensure that the members continue to benefit from essential training, advocacy, and direct services.
- NJSBA’s Virtual Programs – NJSBA is staying connected with its members—and helping them to stay in touch with each other—through virtual county meetings, an increased number of podcasts, webinars and new Facebook Live events. NJSBA is providing districts with guidance and resources to manage the crisis, to continue effective governance, and to secure the technology necessary for online learning. Since March 16, NJSBA has had more than 1,000 registrations for 15 webinars. Visits to the various sections of the website totaled approximately 190,000, an increase of 41,000 over the same period last year. The Facebook content reached over 85,000 people. There were 14,880 views of online videos and the activity associated with the NJSBA Twitter account received 132,000 impressions. Since the beginning of the heath crisis, Dr. Feinsod has stepped up his activity on Twitter, sending out messages once or twice a day. The response has been impressive. NJSBA’s online efforts also include providing professional development and training on a virtual basis.
- NJSBA Online University – To improve the quality of its online programs, NJSBA has partnered with the Rutgers Division of Continuing Studies, a national leader in web-based training. NJSBA’s Online University includes completely revamped governance programs, using a new Learning Management System that is compatible with Cobalt, is user-friendly, and gives members the ability to track online course completion.
- Workshop 2020 After monitoring the public health emergency for several months, NJSBA reached a decision not to conduct an in-person Workshop. Factors included the following: a concern for the health of the community; the use of the Atlantic City Convention Center as a field hospital, which may extend to October 21 (the third day of Workshop), and current data that does not provide a guarantee that restrictions will be lifted by the fall. To meet members’ professional development needs, the Association is planning a three-day virtual training conference, Oct. 20-22. It will provide over 100 training sessions, opportunities for professional development credit, special events, keynote presentations, and an interactive exhibit floor. More information will be shared in the coming months. The entire program will be recorded and available for viewing after the event.
- Advocacy Update
- At the request of Senate President Sweeney, our governmental relations staff met with key members of his staff to discuss his proposals, the Employee Job-Sharing Furlough Protection Act, which would use federal emergency aid to supplement unemployment compensation.
- NJSBA advocated for a delay in the reopening of schools so that local boards would have adequate time for careful planning. We worked with Leadership for Educational Excellence, a coalition of the state’s major education organizations, in this effort. It played a major role in Gov. Murphy’s decision to keep schools closed through June.
- Later this month, NJSBA will release a special report on the challenges facing districts when schools reopen. It will address issues ranging from social distancing, students’ emotional well-being, remote instruction, and school finances, among other topics.
- Senator Sweeney and Senator Teresa Ruiz, the education committee chair, have created an education recovery task force to address the challenges facing students, teachers, parents and administrators in the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic. Senator Sweeney invited NJSBA to participate in the task force. Dr. Feinsod appointed Chris Jones, legislative advocate, to represent the Association on the panel.
- NJSBA is urging members to express opposition to legislation, S-2392/A-3969, which would authorize the Department of Community Affairs to permit municipalities to delay or alter the transmission of property tax revenue to school districts during gubernatorial-declared emergencies, such as the state’s current situation. The Association has posted as a sample resolution and sample letter on its website for members’ use in communicating with the legislators.
Recognition The Board of Directors recognized the following retiring members: Diane Holzberg, member representing Bergen County; Michael Baruch, M.D., member, representing Hudson County; and, Jeff Fischer, member representing Passaic County. In addition, Shane Berger, Bloomfield Board of Education, the new alternate member representing Essex County, took the oath of office.
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.
Information items included Association financials, Executive Director’s 2019-2020 goals; Governance Calendar 2020-2021; legal case summary, NJSBA Delegate Assembly update; written reports from the NJSBA president and officers; and, governor’s proclamation declaring May 11-16, 2020 Special Education Week.