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Commissioner of Education Rejects Settlement Agreement to Terminate Send-Receive Agreement

By on March 20, 2018 in Other with 0 Comments

It should be easy to end a send-receive relationship between two boards of education when they both agree to sever ties – right? Not so fast, says the New Jersey Commissioner of Education (“Commissioner”) in a decision issued on February 9, 2018 in Mine Hill Board of Education v. Dover Board of Education. The Commissioner rejected a settlement agreement reached between two boards of education to terminate a send-receive relationship for failing to follow the rules regarding termination.

The Mine Hill Board of Education (“Mine Hill”) wanted to modify its send-receive relationship with the Dover Board of Education (“Board”) and sought a limited severance by bringing back its seventh and eighth grade students to Mine Hill over two years. Mine Hill proposed to keep its high school students at Dover under the proposed limited severance. Mine Hill initiated a formal petition as a contested matter because Dover did not originally agree with Mine Hill. The matter was then forwarded to the New Jersey Office of Administrative Law to be adjudicated by an Administrative Law Judge (“ALJ”).

After the matter was before the ALJ, Mine Hill and Dover reached an agreement about the send-receive relationship and entered into a settlement agreement memorializing same. The ALJ approved the settlement agreement and issued an initial decision.

Initial decisions must be reviewed by the Commissioner. In this case, upon review, the Commissioner rejected the ALJ’s initial decision and the parties’ settlement because the parties did not adhere to the criteria set forth in N.J.S.A. 18A:38-13 and N.J.A.C. 6A:3-6.1 regarding the application for severance of a send-receive relationship. Specifically, Mine Hill was required to submit a feasibility study to the Commissioner. Moreover, even after the parties agreed to the proposed severance, they were required to announce at their respective public meetings that the record before the Commissioner would remain open for twenty days to allow for interested persons or entities to submit comments to the Commissioner.

This case highlights the importance of following statutory requirements even when two boards of education resolved their differences regarding a send-receive relationship.

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Sanmathi (Sanu) Dev

About the Author

About the Author:

Sanmathi (Sanu) Dev, Esq. concentrates her practice on the representation of boards of education and charter schools in all areas of school law including: labor and employment, special education, Section 504, student discipline, FERPA, Anti-Bullying Bill of Rights Act, student residency, civil rights, tenure, OPRA, and OPMA. In connection with these representations, she is experienced in handling matters before State and Federal courts, including the Office of Administrative Law. Ms. Dev is an experienced special education litigator and defends school districts in due process hearings from inception through trial. In addition, she has handled matters before governmental agencies, including the U.S. Office for Civil Rights and New Jersey Division on Civil Rights. Ms. Dev routinely conducts training and seminars, drafts policies and manuals, and provides strategic advice to school administrators regarding school law issues. Ms. Dev was recently recognized as one of South Jersey’s Awesome Attorneys as published by South Jersey Magazine. She is licensed to practice law in New Jersey, the District Court for the District of New Jersey and Pennsylvania.

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