At the State Board of Education’s October meeting in Trenton, the board received a variety of updates and took action on a number of items:
- New Jersey School Boards Association (NJSBA)/ US Army Partnership—NJSBA Executive Director Dr. Lawrence S. Feinsod and Lt. Col. Edward Croot. U.S. Army, Battalion Commander, Mid-Atlantic Recruiting Battalion, gave a presentation on the myriad of career opportunities available to students after high school in the military. Lt. Colonel Croot also spoke about the ways in which the U.S. Army can assist students and their families with the costs associated with college.
- Strategic Plan Update—President Mark Biedron gave a brief update on the development of the State Board of Education’s strategic plan. The board hopes to have a draft of the plan available in spring 2017.
- Presentation of the 2016-2017 New Jersey Teacher of the Year – Argine Safari, a music teacher at Pascack Valley High School, is New Jersey’s 2016-17 State Teacher of the Year. Ms. Safari has been an educator for 20 years, and has taught music to high school students at Pascack Valley High School since 2005.
- Human Trafficking Awareness Collaborative – The State Board heard about efforts to combat human trafficking in New Jersey and the role that schools can play in that effort. NJSBA is a member of the collaborative that aims to bring awareness to the education community about the scope of the problem in New Jersey. As part of its efforts, the N.J. Department of Education will be hosting three regional events around the state to share prevention strategies, raise awareness on the warning signs of this crime, and make clear how to respond when a student is an apparent victim. The regional meetings will be:
- November 18, 2016 – Gloucester County Institute of Technology
- December 6, 2016 – DCF Professional Building, New Brunswick
- January 27, 2017 – Bergen Community College, Lyndhurst
- For more information please see this memo from the NJDOE
- Charter Schools—The State Board began discussions of the NJDOE’s proposal to amend the charter school regulations There are a number of changes the department is proposing to the regulations that govern charter schools. Those proposed changes include:
- Allowing a charter student to participate in an extracurricular or interscholastic program at his or her local district school of residence if the charter school he or she attends does not offer the particular program in which the full-time student wishes to participate.
- Establishing a five-year pilot program that will establish new certification requirements for teachers, business administrators and school leaders that will provide greater flexibility for charter schools in hiring qualified individuals.
- Allowing state and local funds to be utilized for charter facility rehabilitation and expansion.
- Fiscal Accountability—The State Board continued its discussion of the regulations that govern the financial operations of school districts, charter schools and private schools for students with disabilities.
- Interdistrict Public School Choice—The State Board of Education began its discussions on the reauthorization of the regulations pertaining to choice districts. In the presentation the State Board learned that there are 129 operating Choice districts, comprised of 5,235 Choice students. The program costs the state $53.7 million per year.
- Student Residency—The State Board began discussion of the readoption of its regulations concerning student residency. The amendments include references to N.J.S.A. 18A:38-3.1 which was enacted to permit certain children of military members to remain in their school district of residence when their parent or guardian is ordered into active duty. The full text of the proposal can be found online.
To comment on any of the State Board regulations or to see the full-text of proposed changes, please go to the state DOE website. For any questions regarding State Board meetings or the regulatory process, contact John J. Burns, counsel, NJSBA Governmental Relations Department at [email protected] or 609-278-5275.