Letter to the Editor:

The meeting of the State NJSBA Legislation and Finance Committee took place on March 7, 2020, in Trenton.  The following discussions took place during this meeting with regards to Bills and Policies:

The School Funding Formula is determined by variables which include the school district enrollment over the past ten years and the wealth of the school district.  There has been a drop in the South Plainfield School District enrollment over the past ten years and the wealth of South Plainfield has increased. These factors contributed to the reduction in School Aid.  Also the local fair share amounts for free and reduced numbers are also a consideration.  

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The South Plainfield School District is above adequacy and charted by the Education Law Center.

Minor changes will be made to the Special Education regulations by the State Board of Education which will include statewide assessments for students with disabilities.

Mallorys’s Law - this Bill, sponsored by Senator Pinnachio is in regards to child suicide caused by a child being bullied.  Sections of the bill have been removed.  The official version of the bill will be heard in the Spring.  Mallory’s Law must be posted on all Board of Education websites and easily found.  Mallory’s Mom and others had no idea where to find information on this and other laws.  Bullying by persons ages 5 to 95 create undue pain and anguish to the person(s) being bullied and all parties to these disturbing acts must cease and desist.   A “bully” uses superior strength or influence to intimidate someone, typically to force him or her to do what one wants.   Local law enforcement must be notified if a “HIB” (harassment, intimidation and bullying) is of a criminal nature.

Continued discussion for Extraordinary Special Education will take place

Senate President Sweeney may agree with the Governor’s Billionaire Tax only if a percentage goes into the Pension Plan

The National Institute for Early Education Research has stated that retention of students including special education preschool students have declined. There is funding for eligible districts and South Plainfield is eligible for this funding.  The eligible school district needs to apply.  The preschool can be housed in a public school, preschool, childcare facility, a place of worship or a Head Start Program.  

Student Lunch Bills not being paid are still in discussion in Trenton.  No child should ever be shamed because their lunch bill is not paid to date.  All children deserve the same type lunch that everyone receives.  Funding can be applied for from the Federal Government but has to show accounting for Free and Reduced lunches

Vaccination Bill - discussion continued on the mandate for vaccinations.  NJEA has testified in session numerous times in favor to this bill.

Revisions to Chapter 78 for the School Employees Health Plan and the State Health Plan are forthcoming.  

Independent Contractors with Boards of Education will be evaluated

A Bill is being drafted with regards to substitute teachers and sick leave

The Ethics Commission has ruled that interviewing district personnel for employment, other than the superintendent position, is an administrative function and found that board members participation in personnel interviews fall outside the authority of the board and its members.  

Debbie Boyle, NJSBA Board of Directors appointment as Legislative Representative for District 18, Finance Committee and the Middlesex County School Board’s IPPresident