A Capehart Scatchard Blog

Paraprofessionals Not Entitled to Automatic Renewal of Employment

A non-tenured, public school teacher is entitled to written notice of non-renewal regarding his or her employment by May 15 each school year if the board of education or charter school wishes to no longer employ that teacher for the following school year. This type of notice also applies to paraprofessionals. Pursuant to N.J.S.A. 18A:27-11, a school district or charter school’s failure to provide this non-renewal notice to a non-tenured teaching staff member results in an automatic offer of employment to the teacher for the next school year – but does this right extend to paraprofessionals? The New Jersey Commissioner […]

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OPRA Does Not Require Public Entities to Create Records Not Already in Existence

In a published decision dated April 18, 2016, the New Jersey Appellate Division in Paff v. Galloway Township upheld a public entity’s denial of an Open Public Records Act (“OPRA”) request for email logs, finding that OPRA creates no obligation on the public entity to create new records that do not already exist. Plaintiff submitted an OPRA request to Galloway Township (“Township”) for an itemized list showing the sender, recipient, date, and subject of all emails sent by the Township’s Clerk and Chief of Police for a certain time period. It is important to note that Plaintiff requested logs of the […]

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Upcoming Seminar: “Nuts and Bolts of Section 504 and Student Discipline”

On Wednesday, May 25, 2016 at 2:00 p.m., Joseph Betley, Esq. and Sanmathi (Sanu) Dev, Esq. will be presenting at the New Jersey Charter School Conference in Atlantic City.  Their presentation is entitled, “Nuts and Bolts of Section 504 and Student Discipline.” For more information, please click here.

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U.S. DOE and DOJ Issue Guidance Documents Addressing Rights of Transgender Students

By on May 16, 2016 in Students with 0 Comments

On May 13, 2016, the U.S. Departments of Education and Justice (“Departments”) issued a joint Dear Colleague Letter (“Letter”) specifically advising that Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 (“Title IX”), which prohibits sex discrimination in educational institutions and programs receiving Federal financial assistance, prohibits discrimination based on a student’s transgender status and/or gender identity. Dear Colleague Letter: Transgender Students (May 13, 2016). The Letter provides insight as to how the Departments analyze and evaluate whether school districts comply with Title IX with respect to transgender students. The Letter also references a guidance document prepared by the U.S. Department […]

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Request to Produce Student Records Not Available Through Due Process

Parents may initiate a due process petition on behalf of their child against a school district or charter school with the New Jersey Office of Special Education Programs (“OSEP”) for special education related claims arising under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (“IDEA”) and N.J.A.C. 6A:14-1.1 et seq., which include disagreements regarding identification, reevaluation, classification, educational placement, the provision of a free appropriate public education, or disciplinary action. However, the right to initiate a due process hearing does not extend to a request to compel a school district to produce student records, according to a recent decision issued by Administrative […]

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

By on April 15, 2016 in Board Members 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 Board Members 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 Board Members 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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