A Capehart Scatchard Blog

Tag: Appellate Division

Special Education Settlement Subject to 6-Year Statute of Limitations

When boards of education resolve disputes with parents of special education students, they often enter into settlement agreements with the parents which are approved by an Administrative Law Judge (“ALJ”) of the New Jersey Office of Administrative Law (“OAL”). On February 27, 2019, the New Jersey Appellate Division in L.A. v. South Orange-Maplewood Board of Education issued a decision affirming that parties to a settlement agreement approved by the OAL are subject to a six-year statute of limitations to enforce that agreement. In 2000, the parent of a special education student initiated litigation against the South Orange-Maplewood Board of Education (“Board”) seeking reimbursement […]

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Contract Rescission Does Not Avoid Need for Public Notice and Hearing

By on March 15, 2019 in Labor & Employment with 0 Comments

Statutes are to be read sensibly rather than literally. This was the message sent by the New Jersey Appellate Division on March 14, 2019 in Wall Township Education Association v. Board of Education of the Wall Township School District when it reversed the Commissioner of Education’s decision and held that a superintendent and school district may not avoid the requirements for public comment and public hearing under N.J.S.A. 18A:11-11 simply by rescinding an existing superintendent employment contract. The Superintendent had a contract which was to expire on June 30, 2019. After new salary caps were put in place, the Superintendent and […]

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Appellate Division Upholds Arbitrator’s Decision to Limit Increment Withholding

By on February 11, 2019 in Labor & Employment with 0 Comments

On January 28, 2019, the Appellate Division affirmed an arbitrator’s decision to limit the withholding of a teacher’s increment to one year. In Trenton Board of Education v. Trenton Education Association, the Trenton Board of Education (“Board”) approved the withholding of a teacher’s increment for an indefinite period of time. The Trenton Education Association (“Association”) challenged that decision. During the 2015-2016 school year, the Board employed Carmel Gabriel as a middle school teacher. The principal, who was Gabriel’s direct supervisor, and vice principal cited him for various deficiencies, such as problems with his teaching practices, failure to attend mandatory meetings, and […]

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Appellate Division Rules Teacher Not Entitled to Tenure in Extracurricular Assignment

By on January 2, 2019 in Labor & Employment with 0 Comments

On December 17, 2018, the New Jersey Appellate Division in Melnyk v. Board of Education of the Delsea Regional High School District upheld the Commissioner of Education’s decision that a teacher who already has attained tenure based upon his or her years of service in a particular position cannot also acquire separate tenure in an extracurricular assignment if the teacher is not required to possess a different certificate other than the one he or she already possesses in the tenured position and the teacher receives a stipend for the additional assignment that is not an integral part of the teacher’s […]

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Appellate Division Affirms School Calendar is Non-Negotiable

By on September 25, 2018 in Labor & Employment with 0 Comments

On August 28, 2018, the New Jersey Appellate Division in West Morris Regional High School Board of Education v. Morris Regional Education Association, affirmed the Public Employment Relations Commission’s (“PERC”) determination that the start and end date of the school calendar is a non-negotiable managerial prerogative. The dispute involved the collective bargaining agreement (“CBA”) between the West Morris Regional High School Board of Education (“Board”) and the West Morris Education Association (“Association”). During their negotiations of a successor CBA, the Board sought to remove the following phrase from the CBA: “teachers…shall be employed from September 1 through June 30.” The […]

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Resolution Survives Despite Absence of Advance Public Notice

By on August 14, 2018 in Open Public Meetings Act with 0 Comments

By: Robert A. Muccilli, Esq. Editor: Sanmathi (Sanu) Dev, Esq. Public bodies have flexibility when an action item presents itself at a meeting where the public was not given advance notice of the matter provided the body is not deceiving the public or intentionally omitting an item it knew would be acted upon. In Jeffrey S. Feld, Esq. v. City of Orange Township et al., the plaintiff alleged that the City of Orange Township violated the Open Public Meetings Act (“OPMA”) by passing a resolution settling outstanding water and sewer bills. Specifically, the plaintiff alleged that the City failed to […]

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Individual Prohibited from Simultaneously Serving on Two Boards of Education

By on June 12, 2018 in Other with 0 Comments

In November 2013, Jeffrey Fischer was elected to the Manchester Regional High School Board of Education (“Manchester Board”) for a three-year term expiring in January 2017. He was also elected to the Haledon Board of Education (“Haledon Board”) in November 2015 for a three-year term commencing in January 2016. The Haledon Board serves students in kindergarten through eighth grade and then sends its students to the Manchester Regional School District for high school. On May 30, 2018, the Appellate Division in Fischer v. State of New Jersey confirmed that an individual is prohibited from serving on two boards of education […]

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N.J. Supreme Court Rules on OPRA’s Privacy Provision

On May 23, 2018, the New Jersey Supreme Court in Brennan v. Bergen County Prosecutor’s Office, issued an important decision regarding the Open Public Records Act’s (“OPRA”) privacy provisions. Often times, school districts and other public entities deny OPRA requests on the basis that they are protecting the privacy of others. In these situations, the Court clarified that the public entity must first show that disclosure of the records would invade a “person’s reasonable expectation of privacy” before advancing any privacy arguments to withhold the documents. This case involved Plaintiff’s OPRA request to the Bergen County Prosecutor’s Office (“BCPO”) seeking […]

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Use of OPRA Not Limited to Citizens of New Jersey

By: Robert A. Muccilli, Esq. Editor: Sanmathi (Sanu) Dev, Esq. School districts sometimes receive requests for public records from a requestor in another state. Some of these requests come from data mining companies that seek to provide information about school district contracts and vendors to commercial entities. Fulfilling these requests can involve a considerable expenditure of time and effort by the records custodian. Trial court decisions addressing the question of whether an out-of-state requestor may make a valid request for records under the Open Public Records Act (“OPRA”) have reached different conclusions. On May 16, 2018, in Scheeler v. Atlantic […]

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Appellate Division Addresses Rights of Part-Time Teachers Under Tenure Act

By on March 6, 2018 in Labor & Employment with 0 Comments

By: Robert A. Muccilli, Esq. Editor: Sanmathi (Sanu) Dev, Esq. Educational service commissions sometimes employ part-time teachers to work in public and non-public schools. The Sussex County Educational Services Commission (“Commission”) reduced the number of hours worked by part-time teachers but did not alter the hourly rate of pay. In Zimmerman et al. v. Sussex County Educational Services Commission two teachers challenged the action arguing that their tenure and seniority rights were violated. The Commissioner of Education (“Commissioner”) sided with the Commission by determining that the decrease in work hours did not reduce the teachers’ compensation or trigger their seniority rights […]

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