Legislature Considers Education, Pension, and Funding Legislation

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As the Legislature moves toward its June 30 State Budget deadline, the issue of school funding continues to be the subject of much speculation in the halls of the State House.  During his Budget Address on February 28th, Governor Christie promised to act on the issue of school funding if the Legislature failed to address it within 100 days.  Well that 100 days ends today, June 8, yet no agreement has been publicly released.  Speculation abounds, leadership meetings are taking place, yet no proposal has been agreed upon to date.

Both the Senate and Assembly are actively meeting in committees and voting on legislation.  This week, the following legislation was considered:

Assembly Education

The Assembly Education Committee met on Monday, June 5 and considered the following bills:

  • A-1114 (Oliver/Jasey/Tucker/Caputo)
    • Beginning in the 2017-18 school year, this legislation would require school districts to incorporate instruction on interacting with law enforcement officials with mutual cooperation and respect as part of district implementation of the New Jersey Student Learning Standards in Social Studies at all grade levels.  The Commissioner of Education, in consultation with the Office of the Attorney General’s Office will develop a model curriculum for district implementation of this instructional requirement.   The legislation was held in committee and not voted upon on June 5.


  • A-1272/3936 (Caride, Singleton, Quijano, Webber)
    • The proposed “Student Online Personal Protection Act” would establish rules for online operators concerning the issue of student digital privacy.  Specifically, the legislation proposes to prohibit operators of Internet websites, online services, applications or mobile applications that are knowingly used primarily for K-12 school purposes or marketed for that purpose from the following activities:
      • Targeted advertising based upon any information it acquired by the use of the operator’s site/service for school purposes;
      • Use of information, including unique identifiers created or gathered by the operator’s site/service to amass a profile about a student(s); and
      • Selling or renting a student’s information.

The bill also addresses the issue of the disclosure of student information and creates affirmative requirements for operators to comply with including:

  1. Implementing and maintain reasonable security porcedures/ and practices to protect student information;
  2. Deletion of student information within reasonable timeframes unless the student or parent consents to the ongoing maintenance of this student information;
  3. Public disclosure and disclosure to each school and district where services are provided the operators policies, in easy to understand language, concerning the types of information that is collected or generated and when that information is disclosed to third parties;
  4. Implementing policies and procedures for responding to data breaches or the unauthorized disclosure of personally identifiable information;
  5. Notification of actual data breaches; and
  6. The deletion of any covered information as required by law.

The legislation also sets forth circumstances where covered information may be used or disclosed.  NJPSA is currently reviewing this legislation which codifies existing practice for online services to schools.  The bill was considered for discussion purposes only and was not voted upon on June 5.


  • A-3370 (Burzichelli)
    • This bill, which has already received the approval of the full Senate, broadens the voting rights of representatives of sending districts who are eligible for membership on the receiving districts board.  The expanded scope of issues includes any matter directly involving the sending district’s pupils or programs and services utilized by tehm; approval of the annual receiving district budget, any collectively negotiated agreement involving employees who provide services to sending district pupils, any individual employee contracts not covered by a collective bargaining agreement if those employees service sending district students and any matter concerning governance of the receiving board including professional services contracts, officer elections and bylaw issues.  This legislation now proceeds to the full Assembly for a vote.


  • A-3521 (Muoio/Gusciora/Caputo)
    • The Assembly Education Committee unanimously approved A-3521 which creates a three year public school district literacy pilot program to provide supplemental reading instruction to K-3 students.  Interested districts, will be eligible to apply for this grant program to the Commissioner of Education if more than 75% of third grade students did not meet state standards in English Language Arts/Literacy on the state assessment and that are spending below adequacy under the School Funding Reform Act.  The literacy pilot will focus on a research and evidence-based approach utilized supplemental instruction accompanied by instructional software,  NJPSA supports this pilot program.


  • A-3655 (Mosquera/Jones)
    • This legislation would require a board of education to display information about the Department of Children and Families” State Central Registry, a toll free hotline for reporting child abuse in each school.  This legislation was unanimously supported by the Assembly Education Committee.


  • A-4332 (Muoio/Benson/Vainieri Huttle/Gusciora/Caputo/Zwicker/Eustace)
    • NJPSA raised concerns about the unfunded mandate created by A-4332 which would require New Jersey school districts and contracted service providers to ensure that a school bus has on board at least one school bus aide for every 15 students with special needs.  This aide-to-student ratio must be maintained at all times when a school bus transports students with special needs or a combination of students with special needs and general education students.  The Senate Budget Committee did issue a fiscal note on this legislation in May, but found that the costs of the bill were unable to be determined.  As a result, NJPSA, the NJ School Boards Association and the NJASA have recommended that a fund be established to reimburse districts for these mandated costs.  The bill is now pending before the Assembly Budget Committee.


  • A-4546 (Downey/Houghtaling)
    • The bill sponsors agreed to hold A-4546 which directs the State Board of Examiners to maintain a list of certificate holders where the Board has initiated certificate suspension or revocation proceedings.  Prior to hiring a candidate for a teacher, administrator or educational services staff member, a board of education must submit an inquiry to the State Board of Examiners to determine if the potential employees name was on this list.  NJPSA raised concerns about this legislation, as the list would be based upon initiated charges that had not yet been determined by the Board of Examiners hearing process.


  • A-4860 (Caride)
    • The Assembly Education Committee unanimously supported A-4860 which creates a civil penalty of $1,000.00 for the offense of buying, selling, making or altering, giving, issuing, obtaining or attempting to obtain a transcript of high school course work with the intent to deceive.

Assembly State Government Committee

The Assembly State Government Committee considered and favorably released these bill proposals:

  • A-4704 (Singleton)
    • This bill requires the boards of public employee pension systems, including the Teachers’’ Pension and Annuity Fund, to conduct and report regular stress test analyses of the retirement systems and post these results on the website of the Division of Pensions and Benefits.  It also requires the State Investment Council to report the fees charged by external managers for the investment of pension funds.  NJPSA supported this legislation which will promote full transparency and the regular assessment of investment decisions and funding levels  according to national actuarial standards.
  • A-729 (Moriarty, Caputo, Lagana)
    • This bill codifies existing regulations requiring the adoption of nepotism policies by school districts and charter schools.  The bill requires that certain provisions be included in each district policy concerning hiring, promotion or continued employment of relatives of school board members, chief school administrators, school business administrators, school board attorneys or directors of personnel.  The inclusion of the school board attorney within the ethics policy of the district is a new provision beyond existing regulations.

NJPSA will continue to advocate on these and other legislation in the month ahead.