NJPSA Supports our Coaches but Opposes This Legislation.
This week, NJPSA members once again successfully advocated to prevent the advancement of legislation that would have secured three-year employment contracts for high school head coaches.
Back in August, the New Jersey Senate prioritized and inexplicably fast-tracked this legislation. The bill was favorably released from committee 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, the Council of County Vocational-Technical Schools and the NJ Association of School Business Officials.
After major outreach efforts by NJPSA members and our education partners the bill was not voted on during the voting session in August and it was not voted on again yesterday! Thank You for your hard work on this bill a second time. Your advocacy made the difference!
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, in these current times when all efforts are focused on pandemic-related issues surrounding health, safety and education, along with existing uncertainty of safe participation in athletics, education stakeholders urged the Senate to hold the legislation. Read the coalition partner statement here.
Please Stand By! Future Action May Be Needed and We Can’t Do it WIthout You
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 truly does matter. Your Government Relation team will alert you at the appropriate time. Please contact Debra Bradley firstname.lastname@example.org or Jennie Lamon email@example.com with any questions or for more information.