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School Ethics Act Violated Regarding Disclosure Statements

By on November 29, 2016 in School Ethics Act with 0 Comments

In November 2016, the New Jersey Commissioner of Education (“Commissioner”) upheld three decisions by the School Ethics Commission that various board members violated the School Ethics Act for failing to timely file their Personal/Relative and Financial Disclosure statements.

N.J.S.A. 18A:12-25 and 26 require school board and charter school board members to annually file with the School Ethics Commission disclosure statements regarding their employment, financial interests, and sources of income. Moreover, these provisions of the School Ethics Act mandate that board members also disclose similar information regarding their relatives. Financial disclosure statements must be filed on or before April 30 of each year.

In a matter involving a board member from the Gray Charter School, the Commissioner found that the board member violated the School Ethics Act by filing incomplete disclosure statements and by failing to correct those statements in violation of N.J.A.C. 6A:28-3.4. The Commissioner agreed with the School Ethics Commission to suspend the board member for 30 days or until she corrects her disclosure statements. The Commissioner further advised that the board member will be removed from her position as a school official if she fails to correct her disclosure statements within 30 days.

In the Matter of Alex Janklowicz (Lakewood Township Board of Education) and In the Matter of Ronald Murphy (Beverly City Board of Education), the Commissioner upheld the School Ethics Commission’s decision to reprimand two board members for untimely filing their disclosure statements. Only after Orders to Show Cause were filed on July 26, 2016 did the board members submit the required paperwork. While the board members filed the disclosure statements prior to the School Ethics Commission’s August 23, 2016 meeting, the board members were admonished for causing “unnecessary expenditure of administrative and adjudicative resources.”

These decisions serve as a reminder to Board members that they must timely file their Personal/Relative and Financial Disclosure statements or otherwise risk losing their position.

 

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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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