ASSEMBLY, No. 1055
STATE OF NEW JERSEY
PRE-FILED FOR INTRODUCTION IN THE 2020 SESSION
Assemblywoman MILA M. JASEY
District 27 (Essex and Morris)
Assemblywoman PAMELA R. LAMPITT
District 6 (Burlington and Camden)
Assemblyman ANDREW ZWICKER
District 16 (Hunterdon, Mercer, Middlesex and Somerset)
Assemblywomen Reynolds-Jackson, Chaparro, Jimenez, Assemblyman Benson, Assemblywoman Quijano, Assemblyman Mejia, Assemblywomen Vainieri Huttle and Lopez
Establishes five-year community schools pilot program.
CURRENT VERSION OF TEXT
As reported by the Assembly Education Committee on March 17, 2021, with amendments.
An Act establishing a community schools pilot program and supplementing chapter 6 of Title 18A of the New Jersey Statutes.
Be It Enacted by the Senate and General Assembly of the State of New Jersey:
1. As used in this act, “community schools” means partnerships between public schools, nonprofit organizations, and local governments to provide an integrated focus on academics, health, and social services, youth and community development, expanded learning time and opportunities, actively engage families, and foster collaborative practices based on an individual community’s identified need.
2. a. The Commissioner of Education shall establish a five-year “Community Schools Pilot Program” in the Department of Education. The objective of the pilot program shall be to facilitate the establishment of community schools. Under the pilot program, any school district 1, renaissance school,1 or charter school shall be able to receive training regarding the establishment of a community school, and no more than 50 schools shall be assigned a site coordinator who shall assist in the establishment and operations of a community school.
b. No later than three months following the effective date of this act, the commissioner shall issue a request for proposals to identify a qualified nonprofit organization located in the State whose mission is to facilitate high quality community schools in New Jersey to manage the pilot program. Upon selecting an organization to manage the pilot program, the commissioner shall enter into a contract with that organization specifying its duties and responsibilities including, but not limited to, those identified in section 3 of this act.
c. No later than six months following the effective date of this act, the commissioner shall survey school districts 1, renaissance schools,1 and charter schools to assess the extent to which community schools have been established. The survey shall obtain information including, but not limited to: 1) identifying school districts 1, renaissance schools,1 and charter schools that have established community schools; 2) listing the entities with which the community school has entered into a partnership for the provision of services; and 3) detailing services that are provided at the community schools. The commissioner shall use the survey results to establish an inventory of community schools, which shall be updated annually.
The organization selected by the commissioner to manage the pilot program shall
make technical assistance available to school
districts 1, renaissance schools,1 and charter schools that are participating in the pilot program. The organization shall also make group training sessions and materials about community school operations accessible to any school district 1, renaissance school,1 or charter school that expresses an interest in developing a community school.
b. (1) The organization, in coordination with the department, shall develop an application procedure 1and specific criteria1 for selecting schools, including 1renaissance and1 charter schools, to 1participate in the pilot program and1 receive direct support from a site coordinator assigned to the school. 1The selection criteria shall be posted on the department’s website at least 20 days prior to each application period.1 Schools shall be selected in three application periods 1by the department and the organization collaboratively1. In each of the first and second application periods, 1[the organization shall select]1 no more than 15 schools 1shall be selected1 to receive a site coordinator. In the third application period, 1[the organization shall select]1 no more than 20 schools 1shall be selected1 to receive a site coordinator. The organization 1in collaboration with the department1 may increase the number of schools 1[that it selects] selected1 in a subsequent application period if 1[it did not select]1 the maximum number 1was not selected1 in a prior application period. In no event shall the cumulative number of schools selected to receive a site coordinator exceed 30 after the second application period, or 50 after the third application period.
(2) In selecting schools to receive a site coordinator, 1[the organization may give]1 lower priority 1may be given1 to a school district 1, renaissance school,1 or charter school that is currently receiving federal funds to establish or operate a community school, or 1[give]1 higher priority 1may be given1 to a school located in a school district that does not have any schools in which a site coordinator has been assigned.
c. The organization shall employ and train individuals who shall be assigned to serve as a site coordinator in a school that has been selected to receive a site coordinator. Individuals selected to serve as site coordinators shall be employees of the organization, and not the school district 1, renaissance school,1 or charter school to which they are assigned.
d. The organization may enter into an agreement with another nonprofit entity to assist it in fulfilling any of the responsibilities enumerated in subsections a. through c. of this section.
4. a. The commissioner shall annually enter into a contract with an independent entity to perform an audit of the organization’s accounts and financial transactions. The audit of the prior year’s activities shall be completed no later than five months following the end of the organization’s fiscal year. The audit shall be made available on the Department of Education’s website.
b. The commissioner shall enter into a contract with an independent entity to conduct an evaluation of the pilot program. The entity shall have expertise in evaluating educational programs and the provision of a range of social services. The evaluator shall issue a final report on the implementation of the pilot program no later than six months prior to the pilot program’s completion. The commissioner shall forward the final report to the Governor, and to the Legislature pursuant to section 2 of P.L.1991, c.164 (C.52:14-19.1).
5. There is established in the Department of Education a nonlapsing fund that shall be known as the Community Schools Pilot Program Fund. The fund shall consist of any funds that are appropriated by the Legislature for inclusion in the fund, investment earnings of the fund, and moneys contributed to the fund by private sources. The moneys in the fund shall be invested and reinvested by the Director of the Division of Investment in the Department of the Treasury. Expenditures from the fund shall be exclusively for the purpose of implementing the provisions of this act.
6. This act shall take effect immediately.