Gov. Chris Christie on Monday, Jan. 9 gave final approval to legislation granting school districts the authority to make enhancements to school security by using emergency reserves and bond proceeds.

A-2158/S-2241 (P.L.2016, c.100) authorizes a school district to use its emergency reserve fund to finance school security improvements, including improvements to school facilities. Under prior law, a district could only withdraw money from the emergency reserve fund to pay the cost of unanticipated general fund current expense costs. The new law also permits districts to utilize proceeds from bonds issued by the New Jersey Economic Development Agency that finance school construction to fund projects related to improving school security.

The bill defines “school security improvements” as improvements to school facilities, which are limited to safety and security measures involving building monitoring and communication technology designed to address school crime and the safety of students, staff, and visitors to school facilities. School security improvements may include such items as: security cameras to monitor the school; an electronic notification system that automatically notifies parents in case of a school-wide emergency; an automatic door locking system for access control; and a badge system for school employees.

NJSBA supported this proposal, which went into effect immediately upon the governor’s approval.

In other action, the governor also signed A-4064/S-2708 (P.L.2016, c.94), which authorizes the state treasurer, on behalf of the New Jersey Department of Education, to sell and convey all of the state’s right, title and interest in and to the property known as the Millburn Regional Day School in Millburn Township, Essex County. That property had been declared surplus and will now be offered first to the Millburn Township Board of Education and second to Millburn Township for an appraised value of $3,550,000. If neither the board of education nor the township elects to purchase the property, the state may then sell the property at a public auction. Last September, the voters of Millburn approved the school district’s referendum that authorized the district to raise the necessary funds to finance the purchase of Millburn Regional Day School.