On Monday May 9, the state Senate approved a bill that would threaten the autonomy of local school districts by eliminating the ability of a local board of education to choose when it wishes to hold its annual school election. It had been approved by the Senate State Government committee on May 5.

As written, S-2099 would remove the ability of local boards of education to move the annual election from November back to April. NJSBA supported the original 2011 legislation, because it permitted local boards of education to move the annual school election from April to November if they chose to do so. That law also permits the annual school election to be moved back to April after four years upon the action of the local board of education.

Under the 2012 law, school boards or municipalities, by resolution, or voters, by referendum, may change the date of the district’s annual school election to November or back to April.

Currently, 97 percent of the elected local boards of education in New Jersey hold their elections in November. Three percent have chosen to remain in April. Current law preserves the choice of the local community to determine when it wants to hold its annual school election. S-2099 removes local control of the annual school election date from boards of education and the taxpayers that they serve.

The bill was approved by the Senate on May 9 on a vote of 33-1. Currently, there is no Assembly version of the bill.

NJSBA has begun a campaign in opposition to this bill. NJSBA urges school board members to contact their local legislators to express opposition to the bill that would take away a local board’s ability to move its election back to April, if it so chooses.