The meeting of NJSBA’s Board of Directors took place on Friday, Sept. 25, at the New Jersey School Boards Association headquarters in Trenton. The agenda included the following:

  • Recognized the following retiring board of director members: Barbara Coscarello, member, Urban Boards Committee, Camden County; Frank Storm, alternate member, Urban Boards Committee, Burlington County. Two other members – Christine Kane, member, Gloucester County, and Jerome Page, alternate member, Atlantic County – have also retired from the board of directors but were not in attendance.
  • Recognized the following new board of director members and alternates:  George Cook, member representing the Urban Boards Committee (Union County); Jonathan Hodges, M.D., alternate member representing the Urban Boards Committee (Passaic County); Naomi Davidson, alternate member representing Camden County; Anthony Fasano, alternate member representing Sussex County; and, Christy Tighe, alternate member representing Warren County. William Monk has also joined as an alternate representing the Urban Boards Committee, Burlington County, but was not in attendance.
  • Administered the oath of office to all officers and board of director members and alternates.
  • Approved open session minutes of the May 15, 2015 meeting;
  • Approved closed session minutes of the May 15, 2015 meeting;
  • Approved the NJSBA Legislative Committee appointments;
  • Approved a grant request from the Educational Leadership Foundation of New Jersey (ELFNJ) to the Alliance for Competitive Energy Services (ACES) in the amount of $125,000 for fiscal year 2015-2016;
  • Approved revisions to the Governance and Operations policies: GO/3515.1 (telephones) and GO/4133.8 (cell phones) upon first reading and waived second reading;
  • Received an update on the following NJSBA initiatives from the executive director –
    • NJSBA website redevelopment – web architect selected, completion date set for early 2016;
    • Business Development:
      • Increased participation in NJSBA’s TEC program and grant support services, developed new policy services products;
      • The Educational Testing Service (ETS) donated $50,000 to ELFNJ for the new board member orientation weekend;
    • Sustainability:
      • Pursuing LEED Certification for NJSBA headquarters; achieved the goal of a 25 percent increase in participation in the Sustainable Jersey for Schools certification program, with 109 school districts signed onto the program, an increase of 55 percent since last May; 283 public schools are participating, a 39 percent increase since the spring. Sustainable Jersey will announce the first 64 public schools to earn certification through the program on Monday, Sept. 28;
      • On Oct. 30, NJSBA and the New Jersey Department of Education (NJDOE) will receive special recognition from the U.S. Green Building Council, New Jersey Chapter, for work on the Green Program of Study in sustainable design;
      • The U.S. Green Building Council is granting NJSBA $7,000 to place a part-time Green School intern at NJSBA;
      • NJSBA initiated a meeting with education leaders to discuss the need for more teacher pre-service and in-service training in integrative science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics (iSTEAM);
    • Advocacy Goals:
      • 2015-2016 legislative efforts will focus on seniority (last in, first out); a levy cap adjustment for special education; unfunded and underfunded mandates; pension and health benefit reform; funding for technology infrastructure; federal-level advocacy, and legislation that is consistent with the recommendations of the NJSBA special education and school security task force reports;
      • NJSBA is taking a new approach by crafting legislation and actively seeking sponsors. Another goal is to more actively engage members in advocacy;
      • Launching a mobile advocacy platform, which is designed to alert members to important developments and connect them with legislators to build those important relationships;
      • Created an internal task force to address the Accountability Regulations.  The Accountability Regulations will sunset in November 2016;
      • Leadership for Education Excellence (LEE) Group will be working as a coalition to explore legislation and other strategies to address concerns over the recent School Ethics Commission Advisory opinions;
    • County Associations:
      • Over the last two years, the county associations have been revitalized.  This fall NJSBA is continuing its efforts with programs focusing on critical and controversial issues, including the PARCC assessments and the Common Core State Standards. NJSBA is working with two of the NJDOE’s top officials to conduct these information programs.
    • New Jersey Department of Education Standards Review Commission
      • Dominick Miletta of Pittsgrove, who is an alternate member of the NJSBA Board of Directors for Salem County, and NJSBA Immediate Past President John Bulina, of Tabernacle Township, have been appointed to sit on the NJDOE’s Standards Review Committee.  The committee is scheduled to issue a report in January.
      • Chapter 78 – On Aug. 13, the New Jersey Public Employment Relations Commission (PERC) validated NJSBA’s position concerning health benefit contributions under the 2011 pension and health benefit reform (Chapter 78). In its August ruling, PERC agreed with the NJSBA’s interpretation of the law when it held that:
      • The maximum contribution levels will remain in effect for school districts with multi-year collective bargaining agreements that began prior to sun-setting, and
      • In the future, when those contracts expire, the contribution levels remain in effect – unless the board agrees to change them through negotiations.
    • Training:
      • Developing a new board member certification program for newly elected/appointed members that can be earned during the first two years of service. It will require completion of training in key areas;
      • Strengthening the existing certification programs, including the Master Board Member and Certified Board Leader programs, by requiring that members pass an exam before earning those designations, and by increasing other requirements;
  • Received an update on Workshop 2015;
  • Discussed how school districts have been approaching the issue of employee contributions to health benefits (Chapter 78 – PERC decision), the impact on negotiations, and plans to address the looming “Cadillac” tax on employers, including school districts, that provide high-cost health coverage as defined by the Affordable Care Act.
  • Information items included 2015-2016 dues update; NJSBA dues paid district (2015-2016), board of directors list, board of directors aggregate expenses (2014-2015), executive director’s goals (2015-2016), executive committee aggregate expenses (2014-2015), legal case summary, revisions to GO/3515.1R and 4133.8R, revisions to GO/8105R, 2015-2016 governance calendar, November 21 Delegate Assembly update, and resolutions submitted to the National School Boards Association
    coscarello-webster
    Barbara Coscarello, retired from the NJSBA board of directors after serving as a member representing the Urban Boards Committee, Camden County. She is pictured here with Don Webster, NJSBA president.
    Storm-Webster
    Frank Storm, who recently retired from the NJSBA board of directors, was recognized for his service to the board as an alternate member of the Urban Boards Committee from Burlington County. He is pictured here with Don Webster, NJSBA president.
    Hodges-cook-fasano-tighe-davidson
    Left to right: Don Webster, NJSBA president with new members of the NJSBA board of directors at the Sept. 25 meeting. Left to right: Webster; Dr. Jonathan Hodges, alternate member representing the Urban Boards Committee (Passaic County); George Cook, member representing the Urban Boards Committee (Union County); Anthony Fasano, alternate member representing Sussex County; Christy Tighe, alternate member representing Warren County; and Naomi Davidson, alternate member representing Camden County.

     

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