A Capehart Scatchard Blog

Appellate Division Affirms Board Member’s Eligibility to Serve on Board of Education

By on April 15, 2016 in Other with 0 Comments

On March 7, 2016, the Appellate Division in Stargell v. Snyder, 2016 N.J. Super. Unpub. LEXIS 485 (App. Div. 2016) affirmed the trial court’s determination that a board member of the Pennsauken Board of Education (“Board”), who assigned an outstanding claim against the Board for reimbursement of unused sick leave to her adult daughter, was not disqualified from serving on the Board. The Board employed Margaret Snyder as a school nurse for twenty-seven years. In March 2013, she provided notice of her retirement effective July 1, 2013. Snyder then made a request to the Board for compensation for unused sick […]

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Interviewing Candidates is Beyond the Authority of the Board

By on April 1, 2016 in School Ethics Act with 0 Comments

Many boards of education have personnel committees in which one or two board members, in a limited capacity, participate in the committee. May a board member be involved in the interview process of a candidate seeking employment with the board? The New Jersey School Ethics Commission (“Commission”) advises no. In Advisory Opinion A31-15 issued on January 26, 2016, the Commission determined that a board member would likely violate the New Jersey School Ethics Act (“Act”) if he involved himself in the interview process of potential candidates. The specific provisions of the Act which would be violated are N.J.S.A. 18A:12-24.1(c) and (d): […]

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Appellate Division Decides Arbitrability Issue Involving Former School District Employees

By on March 17, 2016 in Labor & Employment with 0 Comments

Collective negotiated agreements (“CNAs”) delineate the terms and conditions of employment for many, if not the majority, of board of education employees.  They often dictate an employee’s rights and privileges, hours, salary, benefits, procedures for the termination of employment, and grievance procedures for challenging a board’s interpretation or application of the CNA.  On February 2, 2016, the Appellate Division in Egg Harbor Township Board of Education v. Egg Harbor Township Education Association, 2016 N.J. Super. Unpub. LEXIS 205 (App. Div. 2016) addressed the issue of whether the Egg Harbor Township Board of Education’s (“Board”) actions resulting in the discontinuation of […]

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Parent Required to Reimburse School District for Failure to Establish Student’s Eligibility for Enrollment

By on March 1, 2016 in Students with 0 Comments

A child is eligible to enroll in a school district and receive a free public education if the parent or guardian of the child is domiciled within the district or the child is kept in the home of an-other person domiciled within the school district as an affidavit student pursuant to N.J.S.A. 18A:38-1(b)(1).  Domicile is established when the student spends the majority of his time at a residence located within the school district and intends to make that residence his permanent home.  Pursuant to N.J.A.C. 6A:22-3.1(a)(1)(i), when the parents are separated and are domiciled in different school districts, the student’s […]

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Clarifying (Maybe) Who Can Participate In Negotiations

By on February 18, 2016 in School Ethics Act with 0 Comments

By: Kelly E. Adler, Esq. Editor: Sanmathi (Sanu) Dev, Esq. Negotiations are a hot topic in New Jersey right now; specifically, which Board members can and cannot participate in negotiating with teachers, administrators and staff is a question Board solicitors are constantly fielding.  In an attempt to clarify this issue, the School Ethics Commission (“Commission”) released three separate Advisory Opinions regarding this very issue. The School Ethics Act, N.J.S.A. 18A:12-24 et seq., governs New Jersey School Board members as well as school officials.  Generally speaking, the School Ethics Act prohibits school officials and Board members from using or attempting to […]

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Appellate Division Vacates Summary Judgment Decision and Issues Remand in Employment Discrimination Case

By on February 4, 2016 in Labor & Employment with 0 Comments

In an unpublished decision dated January 7, 2016, the New Jersey Appellate Division in Sheridan v. Egg Harbor Township Board of Education, 2016 N.J. Super. Unpub. LEXIS 10 (App. Div. 2016) vacated the trial court’s dismissal of a former employee’s discrimination complaint and remanded the matter for trial.  Plaintiff, a former custodian for the Egg Harbor Township Board of Education, alleged that the Board wrongfully terminated her on the basis of obesity in violation of the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination and subjected her to a hostile work environment due to her floor supervisor’s repeated disparaging remarks about the custodian’s […]

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School District Granted Emergent Relief to Conduct Psychiatric Evaluation and Place Student in an Alternative Interim Setting

By on December 28, 2015 in Special Education/504, Students with 1 Comment

On November 23, 2015, Administrative Law Judge Caridad F. Rigo granted the Clifton Board of Education’s Request for Emergent Relief to complete a psychiatric evaluation of a special education student and to place her in an alternative interim educational setting due to escalating behaviors.  Clifton Bd. of Educ. v. K.M. o/b/o K.M., OAK Dkt. No. EDS 18260-15, Agency Dkt. No. 2016-23665, 2015 N.J. AGEN LEXIS 576 (Nov. 23, 2015).  K.M. was an eighth grade female student classified as emotionally disturbed eligible for behavior plans, counseling, among other interventions.  K.M. exhibited significant behavioral and discipline issues.  K.M. had been suspended from […]

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OPRA Does Not Authorize Anonymous Filings in Superior Court

By on December 11, 2015 in Open Public Records Act with 0 Comments

In a published decision dated September 17, 2015, the New Jersey Appellate Division in A.A. v. Gramiccioni, et al., 442 N.J. Super. 276 (2015) affirmed the trial court’s determination that, under the New Jersey Open Public Records Act (“OPRA”), an individual may not anonymously file a complaint in Superior Court.  OPRA governs the public’s access to government records in New Jersey. Public agencies, including school districts and charter schools, must comply with OPRA, which requires disclosure of a government record unless a specific exception applies. An individual who believes that a public agency improperly denied his or her OPRA request may […]

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IDEA Does Not Limit Compensatory Education Claims to Two Years

On September 22, 2015, the Third Circuit Court of Appeals issued a decision that will have widespread implications for New Jersey school districts in defending against claims brought by parents of special education students pursuant to the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (“IDEA”).  The IDEA authorizes the courts to award compensatory education as remedy to a special education student who is successful in his or her claim that a public school district deprived the student of a free appropriate public education (“FAPE”).  For numerous years, school districts relied upon the two-year statute of limitations set forth in §1415(f)(3)(C) of the […]

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