The Senate Education Committee approved several measures November 13 including a measure to create a new ‘Teacher-Leader’ Endorsement as well as legislation that would require to keep epi-pens on hand for students in the event of an anaphylactic episode. The Committee also approved legislation to allow districts adversely affected by sequestration to maintain additional funding in reserve accounts.
Teacher Leader Endorsement
The panel approved a measure, S-165 (Whelan), to authorizes a teacher leader endorsement to the instructional certificate. NJPSA supports the measure as a means to create new career ladder within the profession, particularly in light of changing needs within the school environment in light of education reform. NJPSA had an opportunity to weigh in on the measure, indicating that we looked forward to working on the Advisory body created under the bill that would work to establish the criteria needed for the endorsement. NJASA and NJEA are also supportive of the measure.
The committee also moved legislation, S801 / A304 (O'Toole / Turner / Russo / Rumana / Caride), that would require schools to maintain supply of epinephrine and permit administration of epinephrine to any student having anaphylactic reaction. The bill requires schools to maintain the drug in a secure but accessible location. It allows both the school nurse as well as delegates to administer the pen if a child exhibits symptoms of anaphylaxis.
NJPSA worked with the sponsors to move the effective date to the school year following enactment. The Association also successfully urged the sponsor to require the Departments of Education and Health to jointly develop training on the symptoms of anaphylaxis and guidelines on the number of pens required to stockpile.
Federal Reserve Account
The body also approved a bill, S2439 / A1286 (Van Drew / Oroho / Dancer / Andrzejczak / Singleton), which would allow districts affected by sequestration (i.e. those districts containing federal installations such as Fort Dix) to establish a federal impact aid reserve account. NJPSA supports this measure.
Modifying Start Times
In addition, the committee moved a bill, S2484 (Codey), which requires the NJDOE to conduct study on options and benefits of instituting later school start time in middle school and high school. NJPSA is monitoring this legislation.
Finally, the panel approved several other pieces of legislation affecting students and schools.
- S1275 (Ruiz) – Establishes loan redemption program for teachers in certain fields to redeem loan amounts received under New Jersey College Loans to Assist State Students Loan Program through employment in certain failing schools. NJPSA is seeking amendment to the bill to modify the criteria for eligibility for the loan redemption from serving in a ‘failing school’ to existing criteria at the federal level for redemption of federal student loans which looks at the number of students who are Title 1 eligible.
- S1276 (Ruiz) – Establishes pilot program in DOE to recruit disadvantaged or minority men to teach in certain failing schools under alternate route program. NJPSA seeks a similar amendment in regard to the criteria used for establishment of a pilot program (i.e modifyng the criteria for eligibility for the loan redemption from serving in a ‘failing school’ to existing criteria at the federal level for redemption of federal student loans which looks at the number of students who are Title 1 eligible). The Association also looks to encourage enrollment in the traditional and alternate route program.
- S1687 (Ruiz / Vitale) – Permits students made homeless by act of terrorism or natural disaster to attend tuition-free the school district in which they resided prior to being homeless for two school years after the event. Current law allows a child to remain in their home community for up to a year. This legislation expands that period to up to two (2) years. NJPSA is monitoring this legislation.
- S2000 / A1796 (Turner / Vitale / O'Donnell / Cryan / Jasey) – Prohibits school district from denying student school breakfast or school lunch because payment is in arrears without prior notice to parent. NJPSA supports this legislation.