Authority- Board  Where parent challenged board’s residency determination then withdrew her petition of appeal, but subsequently objected to tuition assessment, Commissioner determined that students were not domiciled within the district after parent failed to appear at hearing to contest tuition. Commissioner ordered tuition to the school district be reimbursed in the amount of $13,350.25. J.H. v. Neptune Bd. of Educ., Commr. 2019: Jan 30.

Commissioner dismissed certified student assistance coordinator who’s position had been abolished by the board in a reduction in force and her duties assigned to other staff members. While all district must provide prevention, intervention, and treatment programs, all school districts are not required to hire a SAC. The mandtaed services need not be provided by a student assistance coordinator or a district employee, so long as those providing the services are properly authorized to do so. Romeo v. High Point Bd. of Educ. Commr. 2019: Jan. 29.

Board Office  Commissioner adopted SEC determination that board member failed to timely complete training requirements. Reprimand issued. IMO Hyatt, Burch Charter School of Trustees, Commr. 2019: Jan 15.

Commissioner adopted SEC determination that board member failed to timely complete training requirements. Reprimand issued. IMO Albert, Kipp Team Academy Charter School, Commr. 2019: Jan 15.

Commissioner removed charter school trustee who failed to attend training and did not respond to the order to show cause from the SEC. IMO Berlin, Discovery Charter School, Commr. 2019: Jan. 15.

Commissioner reprimanded board member who failed to timely complete statutorily required training where board member moved out of state. IMO Stasi, Red Bank Charter School, Commr. 2019: Jan 15.

Commissioner reprimanded board member who failed to timely complete statutorily required training. IMO Woolridge, College Achieve Paterson Charter School, Commr. 2019: Jan 17.

District Configuration  School district, Ocean Township BOE, appealed Commissioner decision to permit the village of Loch Arbour to form its own non-operating school district in order to enter into a send-receive agreement with another school district. The Court looked at the language of N.J.S.A. 18A:8-4, and found that Loch Arbour was a municipality that falls under the statute that allowed the school district to be divided. Additionally, the Court held that Ocean Township was not a consolidated school district, defeating appellants’ argument that there was no provision in the law that allowed a consolidated school district to “unconsolidated” Further, per the Court’s decision, the legislature has not shown an intention to bar a non-operating school district from being formed.

Commissioner determined that newly established board was not required to adopt budget by statutory deadlines because those deadlines passed prior vote establishing new district.   Board violated OPMA by failing to properly advertise its first two meetings, but properly and timely convened conforming meeting in order to comply with OPMA.  Statute requires that board members to undergo a criminal history background check within 30 days of appointment or election, nothing in statute requires completion of the check prior to being sworn in.

Commissioner affirmed department practice of allowing board members elected in April to certify as to no disqualifying convictions.  Commissioner reversed initial decision to the extent that it held that boards do not need to adopt rules of governance, however failure to adopt same as first order of business does not invalidate board actions taken prior to adoption of rules. Ocean Twp. Bd. of Educ. v Village of Loch Arbor Bd. of Educ., Commr. 2019: Jan. 25.

Employment  Commissioner deemed charges admitted where tenured secretary failed to respond to charges of abandonment, excessive absenteeism. and conduct unbecoming. Summary decision awarded in favor of district. Tenure Hearing of Johnson, Trenton Bd. of Educ., Commr. 2019: Jan 17.

Alternate route provisional route teacher was hired under an emergency certificate but never applied for standard instructional or educational services certificate where he was sentenced to 22 years of incarceration, which sentence was subsequently overturned and criminal record expunged. Commissioner did not credit applicant’s argument that because he completed the coursework under the regulations in effect at the time of his incarceration, the subsequently adopted regulation requirements should be waived due to his improper incarceration. Commissioner determined that applicant was ineligible for educational services certification because he failed to apply for a standard instructional or educational services certification.  Nash v. State Bd. of Examiners, Commr. 2019 Jan. 14.

Ethics  Commissioner adopted SEC penalty recommendation of censure where board members were found to have taken action that resulted in a personal benefit where those members voted to approve a settlement agreement dismissing ethics charges against them. Commissioner noted that all three members had since resigned from the board, therefore censure was appropriate.  I.M.O. Gonzalez, Perth Amboy Bd. of Educ., Commr. 2019: Jan 17.

Funding  Commissioner determined that board did not act arbitrarily, capriciously, or unreasonably in not submitting to the voters of the district a referendum to modify the tax apportionment method between the constituent and regional districts where the constituent board member’s motion failed for lack of a second. Borough of Sea Bright v. Shore Reg’l H.S. Dist., Commr., 2019: Jan. 14.

Rule of Procedure  Where student who was suspended for HIB related incidents for one year withdrew from the district and enrolled in a private school, Commissioner reversed ALJ finding that the only question to be determined was that of the Commissioner’s jurisdiction to hear a matter in such a posture. Commissioner reversed the initial decision and noted that the student’s disenrollment did not divest the Commissioner of jurisdiction because the student was entitled to a determination as to whether the suspension was arbitrary and to correct student records where appropriate. B.E. v. Piscataway Bd. of Educ., Commr., 2019: Jan. 4.

Sending-Receiving  Where petitioning district sought a partial severance of its sending-receiving relationship, Commissioner, after having remanded for additional fact-finding and review of a settlement agreement between the districts, denied the petition. Commissioner found that the settlement agreement lacked a transition plan for the seventh and eighth students who were the subject of the partial severance and such omission would result in a substantial negative impact on those students by hindering educational continuity. Additionally, the proposed partial severance would have a negative effect on the racial composition of the receiving district. Mine Hill v. Dover Commr., 2019: Jan. 14.

Students – General Education  Commissioner determined that after parent purchased home in a nearby district, board’s investigation revealed that parent continued to send child to district schools. Parent then withdrew child and re-enrolled with a court order granting residential custody to a friend who resided in district. Subsequent board investigation revealed that parent continued to reside outside of the district despite court order. Commissioner upheld board’s residency determination, remanded for tuition determination. C.G. v. Morris Bd. of Educ., Commr. 2019: Jan. 30.