Assembly Ed Committee Returns With Host of Health & Safety Measures

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The Assembly Education Committee reconvened September 11 moving several health and safety measures affecting students and schools.  NJPSA weighed in on the measures during the focused committee hearing. 

The Bills

A-3256 (Diegnan / Pinkin) – Requires teachers of health and physical education in grades kindergarten through six in public schools to possess the appropriate endorsement to the instructional certificate, and includes a "grandfather" provision that would permit existing individuals with the elementary endorsement to continue serving in the role.  NJPSA supports this legislation as it seeks a heightened educational standard while affording districts flexibility to accomplish the task

A-3360 (Lampitt / Garcia / Mukherji) – Encourages public school districts to establish a food services advisory committee to consider menu options that reflect students' cultural food preferences.  NJPSA worked extensively with the sponsor and stakeholders to modify the requirements of the legislation to encourage, rather than mandate the requirement, as well as move it to a district, rather than school based conversation.  NJSPA supports the legislation as amended.

A-1029 (Benson / Vainieri Huttle / Jasey) – Requires training program for school bus drivers and aides on interacting with students with special needs.  This legislation follows guidance released by the New Jersey Department of Education encouraging districts to have school bus personnel receive training.  This legislation seeks to codify the training as a district requirement for both school bus personnel hired by the district as well as school bus contractors.  NJSPA supports this legislation. 

A-1286 (Dancer) – Authorizes the establishment of federal impact aid reserve account.  The bill comes in response to the impact of sequestration on districts with federal installations who receive impact aid.  Federal impact aid is awarded to school districts in which federal ownership of property reduces the ability to levy property taxes for educational purposes, or when certain federal activity increases a community’s population, resulting in an increase in the number of school-aged children.  Under the bill, boards of education would be permitted to put federal impact aid funds in a reserve account, for withdrawal in any subsequent school year.   The bill also specifies that the Commissioner of Education may not award less State school aid to a school district based on the fact that the district receives federal impact aid.  Additionally, the funds may not be considered when calculating the district’s undesignated general fund balance.  NJPSA supports this legislation.