A Capehart Scatchard Blog

Robert Muccilli

Robert Muccilli

Robert A. Muccilli, Esq. is Co-Chair of Capehart Scatchard’s School Law Group and a Shareholder in the Labor and Employment Group. For over 25 years, he has focused his practice in the areas of school law, and labor and employment. He has represented school districts with respect to a variety of education law issues involving students, teachers, school construction and special education issues including questions pertaining to inclusion, least restrictive environment, discipline, behavior management, transition, evaluation, discrete trial instruction, medically fragile students, dyslexia, Down Syndrome, Aspergers Syndrome, and equal access to activities and services for disabled individuals. He has also been recognized as one of South Jersey’s Top Attorneys as published by SJ Magazine. Mr. Muccilli is admitted to practice law in New Jersey, the United States District Court for the District of New Jersey and Washington, DC.

New Law Permitting Remote Instruction Also Requires Payment of Compensation and Benefits to School Employees and Other Entities

By on April 15, 2020 in Legislation with 0 Comments

Editor: Sanmathi (Sanu) Dev, Esq.  On April 14, 2020, Governor Murphy signed A3904/S2337 into law which permits use of virtual and remote instruction to meet the minimum 180 day school year requirement. The new law does not stop there.  The law requires payment of benefits, compensation and emoluments to school employees as if school remained open during the school closure (irrespective of whether employees are covered by a collective negotiations agreement) and to a contract service provider pursuant to the terms of the contract in effect prior to the school closure as if the services had been provided.  Additionally, A3904 […]

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Subcontracting Restrictions and Changes in Health Insurance Plans and Employee Contributions Likely Coming Very Soon

By on March 20, 2020 in Legislation with 0 Comments

On March 19, 2020, the Senate approved two significant bills stemming from Senator Sweeney’s deal with the New Jersey Education Association (“NJEA”).  One bill requires alterations in health insurance plans and modifications to employee contributions to the cost of health coverage.  The other bill places restrictions on the ability of certain employers, including a school district,  to subcontract work of employees in a collective bargaining unit.  While not enacted yet, both pieces of legislation appear to be on the fast track to approval.  If enacted, they will take effect immediately. Key components of the bill altering health insurance and employee […]

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Holding Board Meetings Electronically During the Coronavirus Pandemic

By on March 17, 2020 in Open Public Meetings Act with 0 Comments

Despite severe restrictions placed on public gatherings, school boards must meet during the coronavirus pandemic to address critical business, including convening a public hearing on the budget. The solution, holding a public meeting electronically, is supported by recent guidance from the Division of Local Government Services (“DLGS”). The Open Public Meetings Act (N.J.S.A. 10:4-8(b)) permits public meetings to be held in person or by means of communication equipment.  DLGS guidance provides that communications equipment includes streaming services and other online meeting platforms. Notice of a meeting held by electronic equipment must be properly noticed.  Similarly, the board must provide a […]

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School Powers in Confronting an Epidemic

By on March 13, 2020 in Other with 0 Comments

School districts and boards of health have significant powers to address the spread of contagious disease.  Now is the time to review these powers. The board of health may direct closure of schools. N.J.S.A. 18A:40-12.  Whenever the board of health of any municipality shall declare any epidemic or cause of ill health to be so injurious or hazardous as to make it necessary to close any or all of the public schools in the municipality, the board of health must immediately serve notice on the board of education of the school district situated in the municipality that it is desirable […]

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New Obligation to Meet With Students Facing Multiple Suspensions or Expulsion

By on February 6, 2020 in Students with 0 Comments

On January 21, 2020, Governor Murphy signed legislation requiring that a meeting take place with a student who has experienced multiple suspensions or who may be subject to a proposed expulsion for the purpose of identifying any behavior or health difficulties experienced by the student and, where appropriate, to provide supportive interventions or referrals to school or community resources that may assist the student in addressing the identified difficulties.  The principal is charged with setting up the meeting as soon as practicable between the student and a school psychologist, counselor, social worker, student assistance coordinator or a member of the […]

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Contract Rescission Does Not Avoid Need for Public Notice and Hearing

By on March 15, 2019 in Labor & Employment with 0 Comments

By: Robert A. Muccilli, Esq. Editor: Sanmathi (Sanu) Dev, Esq. Statutes are to be read sensibly rather than literally. This was the message sent by the New Jersey Appellate Division on March 14, 2019 in Wall Township Education Association v. Board of Education of the Wall Township School District when it reversed the Commissioner of Education’s decision and held that a superintendent and school district may not avoid the requirements for public comment and public hearing under N.J.S.A. 18A:11-11 simply by rescinding an existing superintendent employment contract. The Superintendent had a contract which was to expire on June 30, 2019. After […]

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Districts Ordered to Pay Increments Upon Expiration of Contract

By on December 10, 2018 in Labor & Employment, Other with 1 Comment

By: Robert A. Muccilli, Esq. Editor: Sanmathi (Sanu) Dev, Esq. The question of whether a school district with a collective bargaining agreement of less than five years in duration is required to pay the increment for teaching staff members at the expiration of the agreement has existed since the amendment of N.J.S.A. 18:29-4.1.  The amendment permits school districts to adopt a salary policy schedule for a period of up to five years. In In the Matter of Englewood Board of Education and Englewood Teachers’ Association (decided October 29, 2018) and In the Matter of Cliffside Park Board of Education and […]

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PERC Restrains Two Districts from Demanding New Dues Authorizations from Union Members

By on September 11, 2018 in Labor & Employment with 0 Comments

By: Robert A. Muccilli, Esq. Editor: Sanmathi (Sanu) Dev, Esq. The Public Employment Relations Commission (“PERC”) recently granted interim relief restraining two school districts from requiring that union members file new dues deduction authorizations. In Delanco Board of Education and Delanco Township Education Association (Docket No. CO-2019-043), school administrators informed the Association President that Board counsel advised that Janus v. AFSCME[1] required the Board to obtain written authorization from all employees in order to continue making membership dues deductions from unit employees’ compensation.  The Superintendent provided the Association President with a copy of a draft letter to the Association’s members requesting […]

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Resolution Survives Despite Absence of Advance Public Notice

By on August 14, 2018 in Open Public Meetings Act with 0 Comments

By: Robert A. Muccilli, Esq. Editor: Sanmathi (Sanu) Dev, Esq. Public bodies have flexibility when an action item presents itself at a meeting where the public was not given advance notice of the matter provided the body is not deceiving the public or intentionally omitting an item it knew would be acted upon. In Jeffrey S. Feld, Esq. v. City of Orange Township et al., the plaintiff alleged that the City of Orange Township violated the Open Public Meetings Act (“OPMA”) by passing a resolution settling outstanding water and sewer bills. Specifically, the plaintiff alleged that the City failed to […]

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Use of OPRA Not Limited to Citizens of New Jersey

By: Robert A. Muccilli, Esq. Editor: Sanmathi (Sanu) Dev, Esq. School districts sometimes receive requests for public records from a requestor in another state. Some of these requests come from data mining companies that seek to provide information about school district contracts and vendors to commercial entities. Fulfilling these requests can involve a considerable expenditure of time and effort by the records custodian. Trial court decisions addressing the question of whether an out-of-state requestor may make a valid request for records under the Open Public Records Act (“OPRA”) have reached different conclusions. On May 16, 2018, in Scheeler v. Atlantic […]

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