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BOE President's Report July 2019
Jackie Bermudez

State News

On July 19, Governor Murphy signed legislation and took action on over two dozen bills and resolutions, including several that will directly affect the state's public school districts.

S-692/A-3775 (P.L.2019, c.169)

This bill effectively eliminates the superintendent salary cap. With the removal of the restriction, school districts still have to comply with the following spending constraints under statute and code:

  • The 2% cap on increases in the school tax levy; The administrative spending growth limit, and State Department of Education review of superintendent employment contracts (N.J.A.C. 6A:23A-3.1), based on criteria designed to limit excessive compensation packages.
  • The impact of the salary cap had been felt across the state with respect to turnover, a decline in the experience level of candidates, and a proliferation in the hiring of interim superintendents who can only serve a maximum of two years in any school district.

Sexual Abuse and Assault Awareness A-769/S-1130 (P.L.2019, c.185)

This bill requires each school district to incorporate age-appropriate sexual abuse/assault awareness and prevention education in grades preschool through 12. The bill directs the New Jersey Commissioner of Education, in consultation with the New Jersey Coalition Against Sexual Assault; Prevent Child Abuse New Jersey; the New Jersey Children's Alliance, and other entities with relevant expertise, to develop age-appropriate sample learning activities and resources. The commissioner would provide these materials to school districts to implement the requirement. The bill also provides that a teaching staff member may satisfy in each professional development cycle one or more hours of the professional development requirement established by the State Board of Education by participating in training programs on sexual abuse/assault awareness and prevention. This goes into effect in the 2019-2020 school year.

Child Trafficking Awareness and Prevention A-1428/S-2653 (P.L.2019, c.189)

This bill requires the New Jersey Department of Education (NJDOE), in consultation with the attorney general and the Department of Children and Families, to develop and distribute to school districts guidelines concerning child trafficking. The bill is effect immediately upon the governor's signature.

Health/Phys Ed Endorsement Requirement S-858/A-674 (P.L.2019, c.171)

This bill requires that teachers appointed to teach health, health and physical education, or physical education in grades kindergarten through six possess the appropriate endorsement to their instructional certificate. Under existing state regulations, an elementary school teacher is not required to have a specific endorsement to teach these subjects. The law goes into effect in the 2019-2020 school year.

Child Abuse Hotline S-2489/A-425 (P.L.2019, c.178)

This bill requires a board of education to prominently display information about the N.J. Department of Children and Families' State Central Registry, a toll-free hotline for reporting child abuse, in each school building. The new posting requirement goes into effect 30 days following the governor's approval.

New Anti-Bullying Task Force S-2575/A-4848 (P.L.2019, c.179)

This bill establishes an 11-member task force to examine, evaluate, and make recommendations regarding the "Anti-Bullying Bill of Rights Act." The task force will examine any unintended consequences resulting from implementation of the act and its regulations including, but not limited to, impacts of the law on athletic coaches; and present any recommendations deemed necessary and appropriate to modify or update the "Anti-Bullying Bill of Rights Act" and its implementing regulations.

Retired, Interim Superintendents' Contracts S-3899/A-5375 (P.L.2019, c.184)

This bill modifies an existing statutory exception to the re-enrollment requirement for certain retired members of the teachers' pension fund (TPAF). The amendment took effect immediately.

Youth Suicide Prevention Awareness Month AJR-26/SJR-47 (P.L.2019, JR-17)

This joint resolution permanently designates September of every year as "Youth Suicide Prevention Awareness Month" in New Jersey.

County News

I attended the planning meeting for the OCSBA. We have scheduled our meeting dates and topics.

  • September 26 - Location: Charlie Browns, Topic: Budgeting
  • December 5 - Location not confirmed yet, Topic: Foundations Meeting (joint meeting with Ocean County)
  • February 11 - Location: TBA, Topic: School Finance; How to manage financial distress
  • March 9 - Location: Toms River (not confirmed yet), Topic: 8 th Grade Dialogue
  • May 27 - Location: Not yet determined, Topic: Spring Dinner and Best Practices

We are planning to host the 8th Grade Dialogue with Ocean County 8th graders. The program gives local board members a chance to hear from students on their experiences in school, their concerns and their opinions on education issues.

District News

We will be setting the district goal and school board goals today 7/24 at our retreat.