At its November meeting, the New Jersey State Board of Education heard updates and took action on the following items:
- Resolution in Recognition of Parent Teacher Association Membership Month in New Jersey — The State Board of Education honored the state parent-teacher association during New Jersey PTA Membership Month. For more than 121 years, the New Jersey PTA has served the needs of children, teachers, parents and schools through more than 95,000 members in almost 600 local PTAs.
- Personnel Appointments — The State Board appointed the following persons to the following positions:
|Christopher Huber||Assistant Commissioner, Division of Legal and External Services|
|Brigid Martens||Director, Office of School Ethics|
|Michelle Whitmore||Equal Employment Opportunity Officer|
|Tami Strege||Director, Office of Standards|
- Controversies and Disputes: The State Board approved publishing a proposal concerning the procedural rules for cases before the commissioner. The proposed rules would revise procedures for the filing of petitions with the commissioner of education to hear and determine all controversies and disputes arising under the school laws. The rules would also establish special procedures for specific types of controversies, including, but not limited to: tenure charges and denials of entitlement to attend school due to residency laws. The revisions would clarify that this chapter does not apply to charter school streamline tenure.
- Reconsideration of N.J.A.C. 6A:7 — The State Board considered a motion to request that the acting commissioner reopen the rulemaking process on N.J.A.C. 6A:7, Managing for Equity in Education, which was readopted with amendments in August. These rules ensure all students, regardless of housing status, socioeconomic status, immigration status, or any protected category such as race, creed, color, national origin, ancestry, age, marital status, civil union status, domestic partnership status, affectional or sexual orientation, genetic information, pregnancy or breastfeeding, sex, gender identity or expression, religion, disability, atypical hereditary cellular or blood trait, service in the Armed Forces of the United States, or nationality, are provided equal access to educational activities and programs by district boards of education. During one particularly noteworthy exchange, Board President Kathy Goldenberg reiterated her concern that the new 60-day Comprehensive Equity Plan implementation timeline – which the recent amendments modified from the chapter’s previous timeline to “initiate” CEPs within 60 days and “implement” them within 180 days – may prove challenging for districts. In response, Acting Commissioner Dr. Angelica Allen-McMillan clarified that school districts may reach out to the New Jersey Department of Education to request additional time. Regarding the process to request such an extension, the New Jersey School Boards Association is not aware of any explicit provision in the Chapter 7 regulations outlining an “extension request” or similar process. Therefore, the NJSBA would advise districts seeking additional information to contact their County Office of Education. Districts should also be aware of the additional information NJDOE provided regarding this timeline in its response to a comment NJSBA submitted on the revisions as it was going through the rulemaking process. (See comment No. 21 on p. 37 of March’s proposal-level rulemaking.) After a lengthy discussion, the motion to request that the commissioner reopen the chapter failed on a vote of five against and four in favor, with one abstention.