The New Jersey Department of Education recently issued a memorandum to provide guidance to school districts, charter schools, and renaissance school projects regarding the implementation of new requirements surrounding making menstrual products available to students.

On Aug. 23, 2023, Gov. Phil Murphy signed legislation (P.L.2023, c.147) requiring school districts to provide menstrual products free of charge in every public school for students in one or more of the grades six through 12.

The law requires that, beginning in the 2024-2025 school year, districts shall ensure that students in each school educating students in grades six through 12, or any combination thereof, have direct access to free menstrual products in at least 50% of female and gender-neutral school bathrooms, if applicable. Costs incurred by a district in providing an adequate supply of menstrual products to ensure the needs of students are met shall be borne by the state.

The governor’s proposed fiscal year 2025 state budget includes $3.5 million to reimburse school districts to implement this law.

Accounting Guidance

Beginning in 2024-2025 school year, line 506, account 10-3301, in the budget software will be used for recording the state reimbursements for menstrual products under N.J.S.A. 18A:33-30. The NJDOE, in accordance with Governmental Accounting Standards Board Statement No. 33, paragraph 30d, is requiring revenue recognition to occur within the reporting period during which the menstrual product reimbursement is actually received; or soon enough thereafter to be available to liquidate liabilities of the current period (i.e. within 60 days of year-end). School districts are required to record expenditures for menstrual products in the general fund, account number 11‑000-213-616, line number 30585.

Reimbursement Process

The application for menstrual product reimbursement will be available through the New Jersey Department of Education’s Homeroom webpage on or about July 1, 2024. Applications will be accepted through May 1, 2025. Districts should submit one reimbursement request for their total expenditures incurred for this program during the time period covering the 2024-2025 school year. Once a district submits a completed application and required documentation showing the expenditures, the NJDOE will review and approve eligible reimbursements. More guidance will be issued closer to when the system opens.

Considerations for Providing Access to Free Menstrual Products in Public Schools
  1. Engage the whole school: Districts should consider including students, faculty, staff and other community members when designing and implementing the program. All staff members should receive an overview of the policy and professional learning opportunities to further their understanding of menstrual equity and adherence to the new policy.
  1. Create equitable access: Ensure that multiple bathrooms, including “all gender” bathrooms are accessible to students during the school day as well as during after-school activities, and special events. This may require additional bathrooms to be opened or renovated. Students should be allowed to use the bathroom as needed and should not be penalized for bathroom breaks, nor should students need to disclose that they need to use the bathroom to obtain or use menstrual products. Menstrual products should be available in a variety of sizes and absorbencies to accommodate all students’ menstrual needs. Both sanitary napkins and tampons must be offered.
  1. Ensure continuous access: Schools have many options for delivering menstrual products to students and do not necessarily need to install dispensers. They may instead opt for a countertop basket, storage drawer, or other method in bathrooms. Additional products should be available from trusted adults in the school, such as nurses and counselors. Signs should be posted in bathrooms and in hallways, so students know where they can procure menstrual products, to reduce stigma. Schools may consider including this information in their school handbook.

For additional information please contact the NJDOE via email.