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Saturday, January 21, 2012

NJ School Board Elections

This past Tuesday (1/17/12), Gov. Christie signed legislation, S-3148, which provides local boards of education with the option to hold their annual elections with the November general election. Traditionally, school board elections have been held every April in NJ. In addition to electing board of education members, the traditional April election provided community members with the opportunity to vote Yes or No with regard to the local school budget. In recent years, many communities have rejected budgets given our current economic situation even when BOE's have presented budgets at or under the 2% tax levy cap. This has become extremely problematic for many school districts, given the rising costs associated with personnel and operations. Each year there is simply less money that actually gets to the students.

The beauty of S-3148 is that it eliminates the requirement of presenting school budgets to the public for approval when they are presented at or below the 2% tax levy cap, if the local school district opts to hold elections in November. If local BOE's decide to keep the elections in April, however, the school budget must be presented to the public for approval even if at or below the 2% tax levy cap.

I can't think of one reason why local school districts would decide to hold school board elections in April. I urge all NJ BOE's to do what is best for our students and move your elections to November. Keep partisan politics at bay so our students can continue to excel.

If I'm missing something, please let me know.

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