Today in Trenton, Governor Phil Murphy signed the following three education-related bills into law:
Under current law, public school teaching staff members receive instruction in suicide prevention as part of their professional development requirements. This law provides that other school district employees and employees of a contracted service provider, other than mental health care professionals, who have regular and direct contact with students, as determined by the board of education, will be required to complete a one-time training program in suicide prevention, awareness, and response developed or identified by the Department of Education. This new law also directs the Department of Education, in consultation with the Department of Children and Families, the Department of Human Services, the New Jersey Youth Suicide Prevention Advisory Council, suicide prevention experts, and interested stakeholders in the education community to identify training programs on suicide prevention, awareness, and response that persons subject to the new law’s training requirements may access and complete free of charge.
Under the new law’s provisions, each school district and contracted service provider is to annually provide to its employees the guidelines on the school district’s reporting and suicide prevention, awareness, and response protocols, including contact information for each school’s designated staff who should be notified whenever an employee believes a student may be at risk for suicide.
The law specifies that a person who is required to receive training pursuant to the provisions of the law will have a duty to warn and protect under certain circumstances and that a person who acts in good faith and takes reasonable steps to discharge a duty to warn and protect will be immune from civil and criminal liability in regard to that disclosure.
This act will take effect immediately, but shall remain inoperative until the Department of Education has developed or identified and made available to school districts the training programs and developed the educational fact sheet required pursuant to subsection c. of section 2 of P.L.2005, c.310 (C.18A:6-112).
This newly signed law permits a board of education or board of school estimate, as appropriate, of a school district that received unanticipated State military impact aid revenue in the 2021-2022 school year to establish a State military impact aid reserve account. A board may appropriate the unanticipated State military impact aid revenue to establish the reserve account in the district’s annual budget, or through transfer by a two-thirds affirmative vote of the authorized membership of the board, for withdrawal in any subsequent school year. Any transfer to the reserve account is not to exceed the total amount of unanticipated State military impact aid revenue. The board, at its discretion, may use the funds in the reserve account for general fund expenses. The law requires the reserve account to be established and held in accordance with GAAP and provides that the account would be subject to annual audit.
This new law applies to school districts that received State aid pursuant to P.L.2022, c.19, which provided a fiscal year 2022 supplemental appropriation of over $1.1 million for State military impact aid.
This new law takes effect immediately.
S-3798/A-5422 (Ruiz, Corrado, Turner/Jasey, Lampitt, Mukherji) – Permits teacher, and professional staff member who provides special services, who retired from TPAF to return to employment for up to two years without reenrollment in TPAF if employment commences during the 2023-2024 school year
This newly signed law extends P.L.2021, c. 408, permitting a teacher or a professional staff member providing special services, including but not limited to a speech language specialist or a therapist, who retired from the Teachers’ Pension and Annuity Fund (TPAF) to return to work full time with a board of education in a position of critical need, as determined by the State Commissioner of Education, without being reenrolled in the TPAF if reemployment commences during the 2023-2024 school year.
If the retired teacher or the retired professional staff member returns to work with the former employer, it must occur more than 180 days after the retirement. This new law will permit the teacher or professional staff member to receive the TPAF retirement allowance as well as a salary. The law permits the return to work under a contract for one year, which may be renewed only for one additional year. The total period of reemployment with any individual board of education must not exceed a two-year period, unless so approved by the Commissioner of Education as being in the best interests of the school district. Under the law, the former member’s retirement must have been a bona fide retirement and any employment or reemployment under the law must not be prearranged before retirement.
This new law takes effect immediately.
If you have any questions about any of the newly signed laws, or any other legislative or regulatory matter, please do not hesitate to reach out to your NJPSA Government Relations team at any time! Director of Government Relations Debbie Bradley firstname.lastname@example.org or Assistant Director of Government Relations Jennie Lamon email@example.com. Thank you for your advocacy, and for all that you do!