TRENTON – Two 18th District lawmakers have introduced identical Senate and Assembly bills that would require all Board of Education candidates to certify under oath they have never been convicted of crimes that would disqualify them from campaigning for school boards.

If enacted, the law that Assemblyman Robert Karabinchak, D-Middlesex, proposes (A4206), would require school board candidates to file a formal certification – along with their nominating petition – affirming they were never convicted of any disqualifying crimes. Lying or falsifying that oath would be a fourth-degree criminal offense.

Sen. Patrick Diegnan, D-Middlesex, introduced an identical Senate measure (S2676).

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“Pat (Diegnan) and I recognize how crucial it is to preserve the sanctity of our school boards. Men and women who seek election to these seats may become responsible for the education, safety, health and welfare of our children,” Karabinchak said. “Protecting our children is our top priority.”

“Candidates who win election to school boards in most New Jersey communities end up being responsible for multi-million dollar taxpayer-funded budgets. It is imperative that these candidates are reputable people deserving of the public's trust,” Diegnan said.

Under current state law, school board members and charter school trustees must, within 30 days of their election or appointment, undergo criminal backgrounds check to ensure their eligibility.

Currently, state law requires school board members – after they are elected – to take an oath affirming they have no prior criminal convictions. Anyone who lies on that oath may be found guilty of a fourth-degree crime.