Legislation Mandating Multi-Year Revolving Employment Contracts for Coaches HELD in Senate TODAY! Thank you for your Outreach!
NJPSA Supports our Coaches But Opposes This Legislation!
This week, as NJPSA members continued their tireless focus on the safe reopening of New Jersey schools, New Jersey high school athletic coaches lobbied hard to secure three-year revolving employment contracts for head coaches and two-year contracts for assistant coaches through legislation, S-2843(Singleton). Inexplicably, the New Jersey Senate prioritized and fast-tracked this legislation at this time of a public health emergency by hearing the bill in the Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee on Monday, August 24 and scheduling it for a vote on Thursday, August 27. The bill was favorably released from committee on Monday along party lines with Republicans opposing the bill and Democrats supporting the bill.
NJPSA Director of Government Relations Debra Bradley testified in opposition to the legislation at the Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee along with representatives of the NJ School Boards Association and the Garden State Coalition of Schools. The bill is also opposed by the NJ Association of School Administrators.
After major outreach efforts by NJPSA members and our education partners the bill was not voted on today! THANK YOU FOR YOUR HARD WORK ON THIS BILL! YOU MADE THE DIFFERENCE TODAY.
The legislation, S-2843/A-1911 contains the following provisions:
- The bill requires that all head coaches at high schools receive three-year employment contracts for their athletic activity, whereas assistant coaches must receive two-year contracts.
- These contracts “rollover” in that they automatically renew unless the board provides 90 days written notice prior to the expiration of the contract term.
- The bill essentially provides contract tenure during the term of the employment to the extent that the coach may not be dismissed or reduced in compensation for arbitrary, capricious, or unlawful reasons and only for “just cause.”
- If a district seeks to dismiss or reduce the compensation of the coach, the district must provide written notice of the reason for the action within 5 days after the decision is made by the school official, but prior to any action being taken by the board.
- If the coach is also a tenured employee of the district, the coach must be given one year to overcome any identified deficiencies with appropriate district support if the dismissal is based upon a poor evaluation.
- The coach would also be entitled to request a hearing before the board after receiving written notice of dismissal or reduction in compensation, have the right to counsel, the right to present and cross examine witnesses including any school official who participated in the decision on the employment action at issue. Testimony is to be under oath with a court reporter paid by the school district.
- The board’s decision will be appealable to the Commissioner of Education or the Division of Civil Rights.
NJPSA members highly value the work of dedication of New Jersey’s athletic coaches. We fight hard to find and retain effective coaches to work with our student athletes. However, at this time of great uncertainty about safe school reopening, (180 districts have chosen remote instruction to date), with similar questions of district safe participation in fall athletics, NJPSA urged the Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee to hold the legislation.
Additionally, NJPSA has significant concerns about the bill’s provisions and their negative impact on students and schools as set forth in this statement.
Future Action NEEDED!
As this legislation continues to be considered in the Senate and potentially in the General Assembly, NJPSA will be reaching out to you with steps you can take to help us in our efforts to stop this legislation. When you receive our action alert please contact your legislators to explain the negative impacts of this bill on student-athletes and on the working climate of schools. YOUR VOICE MATTERS!
Your Government Relation team will alert you at the appropriate time. Please contact Debra Bradley or Jennifer Lamon with any questions.