A Capehart Scatchard Blog

Appellate Division Rules Against Charter Schools In Funding Issue

By on September 19, 2017 in Other with 0 Comments

Four charter schools located in Jersey City challenged the level of funding they received from the local board of education under the School Funding Reform Act of 2008 (“SFRA”) as inadequate for their students to receive a thorough and efficient education in violation of the New Jersey Constitution. In an unpublished decision issued on September 14, 2017, the New Jersey Appellate Division denied the charter schools’ challenge and upheld the current funding mechanism in Learning Community Charter School v. Jersey City Board of Education. Charter schools are public schools that operate under a charter granted by the Commissioner of Education […]

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Stay-Put Shake-up: Third Circuit Holds Parents Entitled to Attorneys’ Fees for Non-Compliance with Stay-Put

By on August 30, 2017 in Special Education/504 with 0 Comments

By: Cameron R. Morgan, Esq. Editor: Sanmathi (Sanu) Dev, Esq. The Third Circuit Court of Appeals has issued an important decision finding that parents in special education litigation with school districts will be considered “prevailing parties” entitled to an award of attorneys’ fees in the event the district ignores or fails to comply with its obligations under the “stay-put” provision of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (“IDEA”).  M.R. & J.R. ex. E.R. v. Ridley Sch. Dist., No. 16-2465, 117 L.R.P. 34473 (3d Cir. 2017).  On August 22, 2017, the Third Circuit issued its decision substantially altering the landscape of […]

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A Reminder from the Appellate Division on RIFs and Tenured Employees

By on August 22, 2017 in Labor & Employment with 0 Comments

On August 17, 2017, the New Jersey Appellate Division issued an unpublished opinion in which it upheld the Atlantic City Board of Education’s (“Board”) decision to change the employment of two supervisors from twelve-month positions to ten-month positions due to a reduction in force (“RIF”). This case highlights an important interplay between RIFs and tenure rights of public school employees. The Board employed Lourdes Vidal-Turner and C. Dedra Williams (“Petitioners”) as teachers for numerous years. The Board then promoted each of them to a twelve-month supervisory position in which they later acquired tenured. The State Appointed Fiscal Monitor for the […]

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Atlantic County and Bridgewater Township Required to Continue Step Increases After Expiration of Contracts

By on August 4, 2017 in Labor & Employment with 0 Comments

By: Robert A. Muccilli, Esq. Editor: Sanmathi (Sanu) Dev, Esq. The New Jersey Supreme Court on August 3, 2017 decided In re County of Atlantic in which it held that the salary increment systems in collective bargaining agreements between two public entities, Atlantic County and the Township of Bridgewater, and their respective FOP and PBA unions remained in effect after the agreements’ expiration dates. The County and Township were required to pay salary step increases during the period between the expiration of those contracts and the formation of their successor agreements. Accordingly, the Court upheld the Appellate Division’s ruling in […]

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Governor Signs Law Expanding Voting Rights for Sending School Districts

By on July 25, 2017 in Legislation with 0 Comments

By: Robert A. Muccilli, Esq. Editor: Sanmathi (Sanu) Dev, Esq. For years, sending school districts have felt left out of many important decisions made by the receiving districts to which they send their students and to which they pay tuition. That will no longer be the case under a new law signed by Governor Christie on July 21, 2017 (S. Res. 3191, 217th Leg., 2d Sess. (N.J. 2017)) which greatly expands the voting rights of sending districts. Representative of sending districts are no longer limited to voting on tuition, certain bill lists or contracts, new capital construction to be utilized by […]

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Appellate Division Finds Willful and Deliberate Violation of OPRA

In recent months, the New Jersey courts have issued several decisions regarding a public entity’s obligations under the Open Public Records Act (“OPRA”). In case you missed them, check out our articles from June 20 and June 27 regarding recent OPRA cases. This week’s article will focus on Gordon v. City of Orange in which the New Jersey Appellate Division on June 23, 2017 reversed and remanded the Government Records Council’s (“GRC”) ruling that the City did not knowingly and willfully violate OPRA by failing to respond to a request for records seeking disability insurance payments made to the City […]

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N.J. Supreme Court Rules in OPRA Case Involving Email Logs

It’s not very often we hear from our State’s Supreme Court on cases involving the Open Public Records Act (“OPRA”). On June 20, 2017, the New Jersey Supreme Court in Paff v. Galloway Township expanded the scope of OPRA to require public entities to produce information relating to the “sender,” “recipient,” “date,” and “subject” of emails even if that means the agency would need to create a new document. In June 2013, John Paff made an OPRA request under N.J.S.A. 47:1A-1 et seq. to Galloway Township (“Township”) seeking fields of information from all emails sent by the Township Clerk and […]

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Counsel Fees Denied in OPRA Case for Mootness

On June 14, 2017, the New Jersey Appellate Division in Stop & Shop Supermarket Company v. Bergen County Board of Chosen Freeholders held that a requestor who makes a request for records under the Open Public Records Act (“OPRA”) and receives such records prior to initiating formal litigation, even if the response is delayed, is not entitled to attorney’s fees because the issue is considered moot. Stop & Shop Supermarket (“Stop & Shop”) challenged the site plan application of Inserra Supermarkets, Inc. (“Inserra”) before the Bergen County Planning Board and Bergen County Board of Chosen Freeholders (the “Boards”). On July […]

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District Court Denies Parents’ Claims Against School Board Involving Nursing Issue

The parents of a disabled student brought claims against the Voorhees Township Board of Education (“Board”) alleging various violations, including violations of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (“IDEA”), for failing to place a nurse onsite at the school building the student would have attended for his extended school year (“ESY”) program. On June 5, 2017, the District Court for the District of New Jersey in R.G. v. Hill, found no violations and affirmed the Administrative Law Judge’s decision dismissing the parents’ claims. Neither the student’s individualized education plan (“IEP”) nor his medical needs required a nurse to be physically […]

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BOE Unable to Withhold Pay of Teacher Who Collected Unemployment Benefits During Suspension

On May 18, 2017, the Commissioner of Education in Strassle v. Old Bridge Township Board of Education affirmed the decision of the Administrative Law Judge that tenured teacher Thomas Strassle was entitled to pay during his suspension even though he had collected unemployment benefits during the suspension. Strassle was a tenured teacher employed by the Old Bridge Township Board of Education (“Board”). In September 2015, the Board placed him on a paid suspension pending an investigation of his conduct pursuant to N.J.S.A. 18A:6-8.3. Thereafter, in April 2016, the Board certified tenure charges against Strassle and converted his suspension to an […]

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