A Capehart Scatchard Blog

Tag: board members

Union Endorsement of BOE Candidate Not an Automatic Conflict

By on October 16, 2018 in School Ethics Act with 0 Comments

An individual served as a board of education member for an initial term. During his candidacy for reelection, the local education association and statewide education association decided to endorse the individual. The individual was reelected. Is this a conflict of interest and a violation of the School Ethics Act? Not necessarily, said the School Ethics Commission (“SEC”) in Advisory Opinion A10-18 issued on June 26, 2018. The local education association (“LEA”) offered financial support to the individual, which he did not accept. On its own accord, the New Jersey Education Association (“NJEA”) circulated printed material endorsing the individual’s candidacy. The […]

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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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SEC Issues Advisory Opinion on Board Member Who is a Current Student

By on February 13, 2018 in School Ethics Act with 0 Comments

In January, numerous individuals took the oath of office to officially begin their service as a school board member. Potential conflict of interest issues are never ending. On January 3, 2018, the New Jersey School Ethics Commission (“SEC”) issued Advisory Opinion 36-17 which addressed questions pertaining to a newly elected board of education member who is also a current student within the same school district. The individual in question is an eighteen year old, twelfth grade student currently enrolled in the school district. The individual also serves as the Senior Class President and is a member of the Principal’s Advisory […]

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Commissioner of Education Upholds Violations of School Ethics Act

By on October 10, 2017 in School Ethics Act with 0 Comments

On September 11, 2017, the New Jersey Commissioner of Education (“Commissioner”) affirmed six decisions by the New Jersey School Ethics Commission (“SEC”) that various board of education members violated the School Ethics Act for failing to timely complete school board member training. These board members received penalties ranging from suspensions to reprimands. N.J.S.A. 18A:12-33 of the School Ethics Act requires, in relevant part, the following for members of a board of education or charter school board of trustees: (a) Each newly elected or appointed board member shall complete during the first year of the member’s first term a training program…regarding […]

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Appellate Division Upholds Findings of School Ethics Violations

By on May 24, 2017 in School Ethics Act with 0 Comments

On May 22, 2017, the New Jersey Appellate Division in Lowell v. Smallwood affirmed the Commissioner of Education’s decision that a board of education member violated various provisions of the School Ethics Act (“Act”) for her dealings with a potential candidate for superintendent. Specifically, the board member violated N.J.S.A. 18A:12-24.1(c) and (e) for acting beyond the scope of her authority and making personal promises. Felicia Simmons, Geneva Smallwood, and Corey Lowell were members of the Asbury Park Board of Education (“Board”). Lowell initiated a complaint with the School Ethics Commission (“SEC”) asserting that Simmons and Smallwood violated the Act. Lowell […]

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Appellate Division Approves Dual Send-Receive Relationship

By on May 9, 2017 in Students with 0 Comments

In an unpublished decision issued on May 4, 2017, the New Jersey Appellate Division affirmed the final agency decision of the Commissioner of Education (“Commissioner”) approving the send-receive relationship between the Seaside Park Board of Education (“Seaside Park”) and the Lavallette Board of Education (“Lavallette”). The decision captioned In the Matter of the Petition for Authorization to Enter into a Sending-Receiving Relationship with the Board of Education of the Borough of Lavallette, Ocean County allows Seaside Park to send its students to Lavallette while maintaining its existing send-receive agreement with the Toms River Regional Schools Board of Education (“Toms River”). […]

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School Districts Given More Flexibility in Compensating Superintendents

By on May 9, 2017 in Legislation with 0 Comments

By: Robert A. Muccilli, Esq. Editor: Sanmathi (Sanu) Dev, Esq. School boards now have more flexibility in attracting and retaining qualified and experienced superintendents as a result of changes to N.J.A.C. 6A:23A-1.2, an accountability regulation affecting compensation, which were adopted on May 1, 2017. Here are some of the important changes to N.J.A.C. 6A:23A-1.2 made by the rule adoption with respect to superintendents. The salary brackets, which are based on student enrollment, have been reduced from six brackets to three with the following caps: $147,794 (enrollment of 749 or less); $169,689 (enrollment of 750 to 2,999); and $191,584 (enrollment greater […]

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Appellate Division Clarifies Who May Issue Rice Notice to Superintendent

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

In 2013, the Appellate Division ruled that Daniel Woska, a former member of the Brick Township Board of Education (“Board”), exceeded the scope of his authority and violated the New Jersey School Ethics Act (“Act”) when he directed the Business Administrator to issue a Rice notice to the Superintendent. As a result of that Rice notice, the Board discussed the Superintendent’s employment and then terminated him. In the 2013 decision, the Appellate Division remanded the case to the School Ethics Commission (“SEC”) to determine who is authorized to issue a Rice notice for the purposes of reviewing the Superintendent’s employment. […]

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Appellate Division Further Defines “Promptly Available” Meeting Minutes under OPMA

By on February 21, 2017 in Open Public Meetings Act with 0 Comments

Last week, we reviewed the New Jersey Appellate Division’s ruling in Kean Federation of Teachers v. Board of Trustees of Kean University, which changes a public entity’s obligations regarding Rice notices sent to its employees. You can read last week’s post here. This week, we will examine the Appellate Division’s other decision in the Kean case regarding a public body’s duty under the Open Public Meetings Act (“OPMA”), N.J.S.A. 10:4-6 et seq., to make meeting minutes promptly available. While the OPMA itself does not establish a specific time period for the “promptly available” standard, the Appellate Division found that the […]

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To Rice or Not to Rice? A Lesson from the Appellate Division

By on February 15, 2017 in Open Public Meetings Act with 0 Comments

*Please note that the case discussed in this article has been reversed by the New Jersey Supreme Court on June 21, 2018 in Kean Fed’n of Teachers v. Morrell, ___ N.J. ___, A-84-16 (2018).* In a published decision released on February 8, 2017, the New Jersey Appellate Division issued an important ruling regarding a public entity’s obligations regarding Rice notices provided to its employees. In Kean Federation of Teachers v. Board of Trustees of Kean University, the Appellate Division determined that a public body is required to provide a Rice notice to any employee whose name appears on the agenda regarding […]

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