A Capehart Scatchard Blog

Executive Order 196 Exempts School Board Meetings from Capacity Limitations

By on November 17, 2020 in Other with 0 Comments

On November 16, 2020, Governor Philip Murphy signed Executive Order 196 related to the COVID-19 pandemic.  A significant aspect of the Order is that legislative proceedings of school boards are expressly excluded from the capacity limits on gatherings in EO196 or any other applicable Executive Order.  Previously, it was unclear whether the legislative proceedings exemption to the capacity requirements applied to boards of education.  The Order clarifies that the exemption does apply.  Caution is urged because other requirements related to social distancing and mask wearing continue to apply and will have the effect of limiting capacity at board meetings.  The Order […]

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Appellate Division Affirms Electronic Voting by BOE

On October 30, 2020, the New Jersey Appellate Division in Schwartz v. Princeton Board of Education issued an unpublished decision affirming that a board of education may utilize an electronic voting system so long as all of the other requirements of the Open Public Meetings Act (“OPMA”) are met. In other words, electronic voting by board of education members is not a per se violation of OPMA. Plaintiffs, members of the public, filed a lawsuit against the Princeton Board of Education (“Board”) alleging that its vote on a specific agenda item at its June 12, 2018 public meeting violated OPMA. […]

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Regulations Impose Vast Obligations on Public Bodies Conducting Remote Meetings

By on October 22, 2020 in Open Public Meetings Act with 0 Comments

On September 24, 2020, the Department of Community Affairs, Division of Local Government Services (“DLGS”) issued Local Finance Notice 2020-21 to further explain the new emergency regulations for remote public meetings held during a declared emergency.  The emergency regulations were promulgated by the Director of DLGS in accordance with Section 8 of newly enacted L. 2020, c. 34, and are codified as N.J.A.C. 5:39-1.1. through 1.7.  The emergency regulations aim to ensure continuity of government operations and transparency in conducting public business when an emergency requires a governing body, subject to the Open Public Meetings Act, to hold meetings remotely.  […]

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Passage of Chapter 79 Makes Subcontracting More Cumbersome

By on October 15, 2020 in Labor & Employment with 0 Comments

Passage of Chapter 79 places new restrictions on a school district’s ability to subcontract work performed by its existing employees.  Chapter 79, which was approved on September 11, 2020 and became effective immediately, prohibits a school district from entering into a subcontracting agreement affecting the employment of any employees in a collective bargaining unit during the term of an existing collective bargaining agreement (“CBA”). A district may enter into a subcontracting agreement for a period following the term of the current CBA if the district: provides written notice to the majority representative of employees in each collective bargaining unit which […]

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Second Circuit Holds FBAs Are Not “Evaluations” for Purposes of Special Ed Parents’ Independent Evaluation Requests

By on October 13, 2020 in Special Education/504 with 0 Comments

In a precedential opinion sure to make waves in the special education community, on September 17, 2020, in D.S. v. Trumbull Board of Education, 120 L.R.P. 133 (2d Cir. 2020), the Second Circuit Court of Appeals held that functional behavioral assessments (“FBAs”) of special education students conducted by a public school district are not “evaluations” capable of triggering a parent’s right to request an independent educational evaluation (“IEE”) from the district by an outside evaluator, at public expense.  The case puts front and center an issue of first impression that has rarely been addressed in the district courts of the […]

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Exhaustion of Administrative Remedies May Not Apply to Section 504 Claims

By on September 29, 2020 in Special Education/504 with 0 Comments

On September 23, 2020, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in McIntyre v. Eugene School District that the exhaustion of administrative remedies is not required when the claims do not allege a denial of a free appropriate public education (“FAPE”) as defined by the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (“IDEA”). The case involved a student with attention deficit disorder who alleged that her school district violated Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act and the Americans with Disabilities Act when it did not provide her with disability-related testing accommodations and failed to follow an emergency health protocol. In the complaint, […]

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Offer Reasonable Accommodations for Students Who are Unable to Wear Face Coverings

By on July 29, 2020 in Students with 0 Comments

Lauren E. Tedesco, Esq., a shareholder in the firm’s School Law Group, was recently interviewed by Special Ed Connection on the topic of accommodations for students who are unable to wear face coverings. To view the PDF version of the article, please click here.

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EEOC Clarifies Allowable COVID 19 Testing For Employees

Below is an article written by my colleague, Ralph R. Smith, Esq., Co-Chair of our firm’s Labor & Employment Group. If you wish to view additional articles and/or be kept up-to-date with labor & employment issues, visit our HR Resource blog by clicking here. Over the last several months, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”) has continued to refine its past issued Guidances on what employers can do to safeguard employees from COVID-19 workplace exposure. One such measure that employers can utilize is mandating that all employees be tested for COVID-19.  But previously the EEOC never said what type of testing can be done. […]

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Governor Signs Law Establishing New Health Care Plans and Contribution Levels

By on July 2, 2020 in Legislation with 0 Comments

On July 1, 2020, Governor Philip Murphy signed Senate Bill 2273 which requires alterations in health insurance plans and changes to school employee contributions toward the cost of health coverage.  The law takes effect immediately and in some respects overrides collective negotiations agreement provisions.  The new law will impact negotiations, budgeting and insurance benefit planning.  Key components include: Establishment of New Jersey Educators Health Plan (“NJEHP”) by the School Employees’ Health Benefit Program (“SEHBP”) for the 2021 plan year and creation of an equivalent plan by non-SEHBP school districts; Establishment of a less costly Garden State Health Plan (“GSHP”) by the […]

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NJDOE Issues Guidance on ESY 2020 During COVID-19 Pandemic

On June 12, 2020, the New Jersey Department of Education (“NJDOE”) provided guidance to school districts on the delivery of extended school year (“ESY”) services to eligible students with disabilities during the COVID-19 pandemic. The NJDOE’s guidance was in response to the Governor’s recent Executive Order 149 allowing for in-person ESY programming beginning on or after July 6, 2020. Pursuant to the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (“IDEA”) and corresponding New Jersey regulations, once a school district determines that a student with disability requires additional educational services during the summer, the school district is required to include an ESY program […]

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