On Wednesday, Nov. 2, Gov. Phil Murphy met with members of the LEE Group, a group of New Jersey educational organizations. Among the attendees were Irene LeFebvre, president of the New Jersey School Boards Association; and Dr. Timothy Purnell, NJSBA’s executive director.

Topics discussed with Murphy included the fiscal pressures that school districts are facing, student safety and school security, staff recruitment and retention, student mental health issues and standardized testing.

Purnell spoke on the financial pressures that boards of education are facing and are likely to continue to struggle with, due to rising inflation in general and especially increased costs for health care premiums, transportation and special education. He also noted that the 2020 health benefits reform law, “Chapter 44,” has not resulted in promised savings to boards or taxpayers, and urged the governor to increase state financial support to districts.

“We appreciated the opportunity to discuss critical education issues with the governor,” Purnell said. “We look forward to continued collaboration with the Murphy administration as we work toward our common goal: improved achievement for all students.” He added, “If additional funding considerations are not made, many of our districts’ new, creative and innovative programs will suffer and/or be removed from the budget.”

The LEE (Leadership for Educational Excellence) Group includes NJSBA, the New Jersey Association of School Administrators, New Jersey Association of School Business Officials, New Jersey Education Association, New Jersey Principals and Supervisors Association; New Jersey PTA, and the New Jersey Department of Education.


Left to right: Dr. Timothy Purnell, executive director, NJSBA; Matthew Clarke, assistant executive director, NJASBO; Sharon Roseboro, president-elect, NJPTA; Mike Vrancik, legislative advocate, NJASBO; Lynette Howard, vice president of advocacy, NJPTA; Candy Fredericks, president, NJPTA; Irene LeFebvre, president, NJSBA; Melanie Schulz, director of government relations, NJASA; Phil Murphy, governor of New Jersey; Dr. Richard Bozza, executive director, NJASA; Tony Trongone, president, NJASA; Sean Spiller, president, NJEA; Karen Bingert, executive director, NJPSA; Debra Bradley, director of government relations, NJPSA; Dr. Arlene M. Rogo, Ed.D., President, NJPSA; Kevin Kelleher, deputy executive director, NJEA; Susan Young, executive director, NJASBO; and Jonathan Pushman, director of government relations, NJSBA.