On Thursday, Sept. 24, the Senate and Assembly took action on education-related bills.
Senate Voting Session
The full Senate approved the following school-related bill:
Quarantine Restrictions S-2401 addresses instances of a student, teaching staff member, or other employee of a school district traveling outside of the United States or to a state on the quarantine travel advisory list during a public health emergency. This bill prohibits students and employees from immediately returning to school after traveling to such destinations, and requires them to self-quarantine before returning.
Under the bill, individuals would not be permitted to return to the public school until: 1) the termination of the public health emergency; 2) 14 calendar days following the date of their return to New Jersey; 3) the removal of the state from the travel advisory, or 4) the receipt of negative test for the contagious disease, whichever occurs first.
For students, the days missed would be recorded as excused absences. In addition, a student or staff member may participate in virtual or remote instruction during any period in which the person’s physical absence is required.
The bill was approved by a vote of 37-2 and now heads to the Assembly Education Committee.
Assembly Voting Session
The General Assembly approved the following measures:
School Meal Fund A-1632 requires a board of education to accept monetary donations from any person or entity to assist students with the purchase of school breakfast or school lunch or to pay the balance owed on overdue school breakfast or lunch bills. A school district must establish and place such donations in a “School Meal Fund.” The fund will be established through the adoption of a resolution by the board of education. The board will also adopt a policy that will ensure the fiscal accountability of the fund and will outline the standards that will be applied in making a determination to disburse moneys from the School Meal Fund. The policy shall ensure equitable distribution of the funds that are disbursed.
The bill directs a board of education to provide information to the parents and guardians of students enrolled in the school district and to other residents of the district and community organizations regarding the board of education’s obligation to accept donated funds. The information will also be posted in a prominent location on the school district’s website.
When the bill was heard by the Assembly Education Committee, NJSBA requested an amendment to the language that the establishment of the School Meal Fund not be a requirement. Districts should have the option to take advantage of this if needed. The bill was approved unanimously and now heads to the Senate Education Committee for further consideration.
NJQSAC and State Takeover Districts A-1040 requires that if a school district satisfies in certain evaluations 80% or more of the required N.J. Quality Single Accountability Continuum standards in an area of district effectiveness under state intervention, the state must return the area to local control. The bill was passed unanimously and now goes to the Senate. NJSBA supports the bill which has no Senate counterpart at this time.