Education

Berkeley Heights Schools Attorney Explains Ins and Outs of Send-Receive Relationships

794f24a332d5fc8e8095_carousel_image_ae6e7b122869f31e6da6_carousel_image_b88cafa8ca93825d90a2_best_89c299f1bbb38de34850_images.jpg
794f24a332d5fc8e8095_carousel_image_ae6e7b122869f31e6da6_carousel_image_b88cafa8ca93825d90a2_best_89c299f1bbb38de34850_images.jpg

MOUNTAINSIDE – Mountainside school officials may be seeking another high school to send its students to instead of Governor Livingston in the Berkeley Heights district, but actually implementing such a move is no easy task.

Speculation abounds as to why Mountainside has asked several other school districts within a 15-mile radius if they would be willing to receive Mountainside freshmen, sophomores, juniors and seniors at their high schools. Reasons range from disappointment by some in Governor Livingston High School's academic ranking, to residents questioning the per-pupil tuition rate Mountainside pays to send its high schoolers to Berkeley Heights.

Despite Mountainside's investigation into other receiving-district options, Helen Kirsch, President of the Berkeley Heights Board of Education, said back in June that her school district and Mountainside are currently in negotiations to renew a contract known as a send-receive agreement, which expires after the 2016-17 academic year.

Sign Up for E-News

Mountainside has been sending its public school students to Governor Livingston for roughly the past 20 years.

Watchung Hills Regional High School school district is the only other district in the area publicly known to be discussing whether to answer a request for proposal (RFP) sent to it by Mountainside on the matter. See related article.

Timothy Stys, the business administrator at Watchung Hills, wrote in an email to TAPinto.net that it is “undecided at this time” if his school district will answer the Mountainside RFP, the deadline for which has been extended to mid-October..

However, should Watchung Hills decide to answer, he said, “at a minimum, the Board would have to prepare a revised demographic study.”

But even if another district, like Watchung Hills, is ready, willing and able to receive Mountainside students, Mountainside would first have to notify the state commissioner of education that it intends to sever its current send-receive relationship, according to Vito Gagliardi, attorney for the Berkeley Heights Board of Education. Notifying the commissioner means that Mountainside would then have to go to court.

“The law says that you cannot end a send-receive relationship without filing a contested case before the state commissioner of education, in which you prove that there would be no substantial negative educational, racial or financial impact on any of the communities involved,” Gagliardi said by phone on Aug. 20. “Whoever wants to end the relationship must file the lawsuit.”

Such lawsuits are argued before an administrative law judge, who acts as a hearing officer for the  commissioner of education, Gagliardi said. Once arguments are heard from attorneys and testimony is given by expert witnesses, the administrative law judge reports his or her “recommended findings of fact and conclusions of law” to the commissioner of education.

If the parties involved are not happy with those findings, the parties can file exceptions with the commissioner, Gagliardi said. The commissioner then looks at the administrative law judge's recommendations, looks at the parties' exceptions and makes a decision on whether to approve ending the current send-receive relationship. Approval from the commissioner is also required to enter into a new relationship.

The commissioner's “decision is a final decision appealable to the appellate division of Superior Court, just as you can appeal at trial court,” Gagliardi said. “There are cases when both parties agree to end a relationship but the commissioner of education would not allow the relationship to be ended.”

Gagliardi described filing a lawsuit to end a send-receive relationship and enter into a new one as “a fairly expensive proposition.” Besides legal fees, lawyers have to be paid, along with experts to write reports and appear in court. 

“It's certainly a couple of hundred thousand dollars, depending on the nature of the dispute,” he said. “That's why you don't see a lot of these cases, because they're expensive and the outcome is somewhat uncertain.”

“The process is set up in such a way to protect children,” Gagliardi said. “You want to have stability. You don't want to see these relationships beginning and ending and children being shuffled from one high school to another.”

Gagliardi did confirm that there have been recent discussions between the Berkeley Heights and Mountainside school districts regarding their existing send-receive agreement. 

He was also emphatic about explaining the difference between a send-receive “agreement” and a send-receive “relationship.”

“They are different,” Gagliardi said.

As an example, he asked hypothetically what would happen starting in the fall of 2017, after the send-receive agreement between Mounatinside and Berkeley Heights expired, if there was no new agreement in place and nobody filed anything with the commissioner of education.

“The law answers that question,” Gagliardi said. “Mountainside kids would still go to Berkeley Heights. Berkeley Heights would charge Mountainside a per-pupil cost. Mountainside would be obligated to pay the per-pupil cost.”

TAP Into Another Town's News:

You May Also Be Interested In

Sign Up for E-News

Berkeley Heights

Sleep out at Covenant House

June 18, 2018

I can enjoy the same movies over and over like it were the first time to see them.  My kids roll their eyes at this.  Well, many unimaginable things happen as you become a certain age, and you tend to learn to accept those things graciously as gift.   But I remember the movie “The Blind Side.”  Until I saw that movie, I didn’t know homeless children ...

Local at-risk youth celebrate year of achievements at Community Access Unlimited

June 23, 2018

Community Access Unlimited (CAU) last night celebrated the achievements of a number of at-risk youth who are members of the agency's Transitional Opportunities Program (TOP). Each of these youth are within New Jersey's child services system and faced a number of life challenges before coming to CAU and TOP and since then have made significant progress in plotting a brighter future with ...

Union County Residents Can “Recycle Right” without Plastic Bags

The Union County Board of Chosen Freeholders reminds residents that plastic bags and other excluded items cannot be recycled through their local curbside pick-up programs.

“Union County residents have a good recycling rate compared to other counties in our state, and we want to improve on this record and set a high bar,” said Freeholder Chairman Sergio Granados. “Every ...

Seth Meyers Attends Summit Medical Group Foundation's (SMGF) 5th Annual Gala & Auction

Seth Meyers, host of NBC’s Late Night with Seth Meyers, was recently a special guest at Summit Medical Group Foundation's (SMGF) 5th Annual Gala & Auction where a record-breaking $1.35 million was raised. 

SMGF’s Annual Gala & Auction raises critical funds to ensure the Foundation can continue to offer access to high-quality ...

What Is HIIT and Why All The Buzz?

HIIT stands for High Intensity Interval Training. Many people, especially those with busy schedules, love HITT because they can get maximum benefits in a short period of time! According to Shape Magazine, “Research shows you can achieve more progress in a mere 15 minutes of interval training (done three times a week) than the girl jogging on the treadmill for an hour. And according to ...

Missing in North Plainfield: Have You Seen Angel?

June 21, 2018

NORTH PLAINFIELD, NJ - Have you seen Angel?

Angel is a seven year old black and white Husky last seen near Westervelt Ave. and Manning Ave. on June 16. Her family says she is very friendly. 

If found, call Andrea at  888-466-3242.

 

Linden Man Arrested After Explosion in Cranford

June 21, 2018

CRANFORD - On Wednesday, June 20, 2018 at 7:06 p.m. the Cranford Police Department received
information that an explosion was heard in the area of Raritan Road and Summit Terrace. Through
a joint investigation with the Union County Prosecutor's Office and Linden Police Department, the
Cranford Police Department Detective Bureau identified a suspect through surveillance video ...

Upcoming Events

Carousel_image_946d04346cba30ae4cb8_st._huberts_3

Sat, June 23, 7:00 AM

Summit YMCA, Summit

Pet Supply Drive at the Summit YMCA to Benefit ...

Giving Back

Carousel_image_946d04346cba30ae4cb8_st._huberts_3

Sun, June 24, 7:00 AM

Summit YMCA, Summit

Pet Supply Drive at the Summit YMCA to Benefit ...

Giving Back

Carousel_image_f22718b50d966a6916f0_tbc_flier

Sun, June 24, 10:00 AM

eMedical Urgent Care, Berkeley Heights

eMedical Urgent Care to Hold Free Teddy Care ...

Arts & Entertainment Health & Wellness

Carousel_image_3e68b1f0c65d22cd79bc_d6a71058d531d31a8cff_achievers

Mon, June 25

Summit YMCA, Summit

June 2018 College Tour

Education

Carousel_image_946d04346cba30ae4cb8_st._huberts_3

Mon, June 25, 7:00 AM

Summit YMCA, Summit

Pet Supply Drive at the Summit YMCA to Benefit ...

Giving Back

Mon, June 25, 9:00 AM

Madison

Kids' Critter Camp

Education

What's Hot and What's Not

Summer is a great time to take a step back, sip a cool beverage, and take a look at what’s going on in the world of college admissions.  Departments use the summer to evaluate how their year went and plan on any changes they want to make for the fall.  Did they over-enroll? Under-enroll?  What application materials were useful to them?  Which were redundant or time ...

Cool Ways to Save Money This Summer

As the summer temperatures rise, home cooling costs rise as well. But there are ways to help save money without sweating the heat:

To increase your cooling system’s efficiency by as much as 20%, get it checked out for summer.  A technician will clean the condenser, make sure you have the optimal amount of refrigerant, and ensure the airflow over the coil is ...