SENATE EDUCATION COMMITTEE
SENATE, No. 792
STATE OF NEW JERSEY
DATED: MARCH 3, 2016
The Senate Education Committee favorably reports Senate Bill No. 792.
Under current law, most boards of education of regional school districts consist of nine members, with at least one from each constituent district. The remaining seats are allocated to constituent districts on the basis of population. This bill would maintain the size of the regional school district board of education, but permit a newly created regional school district or a regional school district that will enlarge by adding one or more constituent districts, to determine, with the approval of the Commissioner of Education, an alternative apportionment method for its board. The boards of education proposing to create or enlarge a regional district would, by resolution, adopt a proposal to apportion the membership of the new board using an alternative apportionment method and if the commissioner approves the alternative apportionment, that apportionment method would be used in the statutorily required study conducted to determine whether it is advisable to create or enlarge the regional school district. If after the study the commissioner determines that it is advisable to create or enlarge a regional school district, and the voters approve the proposal to create or enlarge the regional district, then the board of the newly created or enlarged district will be elected in accordance with the alternative apportionment method.
In the case of an enlarged regional school district which establishes an alternative apportionment method for its board, the executive county superintendent will, no later than 30 days after the election for the enlargement, appoint one member of the enlarged board from among the qualified citizens of each new constituent district. All the members of the board of the enlarged regional district will be elected at the next annual school election following the election held to approve the enlargement of the regional district. The members appointed by the executive county superintendent will serve only until the organization meeting at which all the new elected members of the board of the enlarged regional district begin their terms.
The alternative apportionment method established pursuant to the provisions of the bill would continue in effect until the official promulgation of the next federal census. At that time, the Commissioner of Education will consult with the constituent districts of the regional district to determine whether or not to reapportion the membership of the regional district. The bill provides that all members of the board will continue in office for the terms for which they were elected or appointed notwithstanding any reapportionment ordered by the commissioner. If a constituent district receives increased representation as a result of the reapportionment ordered by the commissioner, the additional members will be elected at the next annual school election of the regional district.
The bill also would permit a special election on the enlargement of a regional school district to be held on any of the special election dates set forth in section 2 of P.L.1995, c.278 (C.19:60-2) – the fourth Tuesday in January, the second Tuesday in March, the last Tuesday in September, or the second Tuesday in December. Under current law, a special election for this purpose may only be held on the September date. In addition to all the special election dates, the election for enlargement of a regional district will also be permitted on the third Tuesday in April, which is the date of the annual school election for those districts which have not chosen to move their annual school election date to November.
The bill also includes technical amendments to N.J.S.18A:13-39 and N.J.S.18A:13-41 to reflect a change in the law in 2014. Pursuant to P.L.2013, c.172, an election to determine whether or not to form a newly created regional school district may occur, in addition to the date of the special election held on the last Tuesday in September, on the date of the general election.
This bill was pre-filed for introduction in the 2016-2017 session pending technical review. As reported, the bill includes the changes required by technical review, which has been performed.