The Senate Budget & Appropriations Committee approved several measures impacting student health, safety and financial literacy.
Legislation, A-3396 (McKnight), requiring schools to incorporate financial literacy standards into instruction for students in grades K-8 was approved by the Committee. The bill passed out of the state Assembly in late November. Under the bill, the state Board of Education would be required to provide curriculum and sample instructional materials to schools covering topics such as budgeting, savings, credit, debt, insurance, investment and other issues related to personal financial responsibility.
NJPSA, in concert with NJSBA and NJASA, worked with the sponsors to address some concerns with the legislation as initially drafted. The bill would take effect immediately and first be applicable to the first full school year following enactment.
Also approved were two bills related to student feeding and that had moved through the Senate Education Committee late last month.
- S-3371 / A-4906 (Ruiz / Lampitt / Holley / Mosquera) – Requires public and nonpublic schools to notify students and parents of availability of summer meals programs and locations where meals are served. Specifically, the bill requires school districts to notify parents/guardians of the availability of, and criteria of eligibility for, the summer meals program and the locations in the local school district where the summer meals are available. Flyers are to be made available by the Ã‚ Department of Agriculture (by June 1) to help districts in providing notice. Additionally, schools could provide notice electronically. Districts are currently providing notice per a New Jersey Department of Education (NJDOE) broadcast / notice requirement.
- S-3372 / A-4908 (Ruiz / Lampitt / Holley / Mosquera) – Directs DOE to establish online applications for National School Lunch Program and school breakfast programs. This legislation would require the Department of Agriculture, in consultation with the NJDOE, to develop and make available to each school district and nonprofit nonpublic school participating in the National School Lunch Program or in a school breakfast program, an Internet-based online school meal application for eligible students to participate in these programs. The Department of Agriculture currently maintains an online portal for this purpose. NJPSA worked with the bill sponsors to ensure the proper agency was noted under the bill.
Fire Suppression Systems
Finally, the Committee approved legislation, A-5074 (Quijano / S-3466 (Greenstein/Diegnan) which directs the Department of Community Affairs to survey fire suppression systems in public and non-public school buildings. The division would share the results of the survey with the Department of Education. For each building, the survey would have to include the following information:
- whether a fire suppression system is installed and operational;
- the year in which an existing fire suppression system was installed and any year in which additional piping or standpipes were added to the system or an additional system was installed in the same structure;
- the cost of curing any defect if an installed fire suppression system is not fully operational; and
- the cost of a reinstallation or annual maintenance of a fire suppression system that is inadequate or not fully operational.
NJPSA supports the legislation. The NJ Fire Advisory Board testified in favor of the bill when it was approved by the Assembly Education Committee late last month.
All of the above bills are expected to be approved by the full Senate in coming days and will move to the Governor desk for his consideration.