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11-26-13 Education in the News
(GSCS Note: Bills passing out of the Assembly Education Committee yesterday included extending filing deadline for school board candidates; extending the budget hearing timelines for districts that hold school elections in November [A4300 eliminates March deadline for districts allows them to extend budget approval until May; A3424 moves filing deadline to 64 days prior to November election date.]; and disseminating cardiac arrest symptoms information to school personnel, parents. GSCS supported these bills.)

Burlington County Times - Panel approves deadline changes for school budgets and BOE candidate filing ’….Both bills were approved by the Assembly’s Education Committee and head to the full chamber for consideration. The school board filing deadline bill has already been approved by the Senate, but the budget deadline change is still pending before the Senate Education Committee.’

NJ Spotlight - Common Core Standards, Online Testing Continue to Gain Ground in NJ…Bills proposed to delay implementation find no support from administration, leaders of Senate and Assembly

Burlington County Times - Panel approves deadline changes for school budgets and BOE candidate filing ’….Both bills were approved by the Assembly’s Education Committee and head to the full chamber for consideration. The school board filing deadline bill has already been approved by the Senate, but the budget deadline change is still pending before the Senate Education Committee.’

By David Levinsky Staff writer | Posted: Monday, November 25, 2013 3:57 pm

TRENTON — Burlington County’s school districts would have more time to write their budgets and local board of education candidates would have longer to file petitions to run under a pair of bills moving through the New Jersey Legislature.

Both bills are intended to tweak deadlines to make them a better fit for the hundreds of school districts that opted to move their annual elections from April to November.

A 2012 law gave districts the option, but it did not address many of the related deadlines.

All 39 of Burlington County’s public school districts opted to move their board elections to November, so both measures would affect them all if they become law.

Statewide, more than 500 districts have made the change.

“This is really just adjusting dates to recognize that some districts have moved their elections to November,” Assembly Education Committee Chairman Patrick Diegnan Jr., D-18th of South Plainfield, said Monday during a committee hearing on the two measures.

For example, school districts that moved their elections to November were allowed to eliminate a vote on their budgets provided the budget’s proposed tax levy complied with the state’s 2 percent cap.

Even though the budget vote was eliminated, those districts still faced the same March deadline for writing and approving budgets for state Department of Education review that districts with April school elections face.

Both bills were approved by the Assembly’s Education Committee and head to the full chamber for consideration.

The school board filing deadline bill has already been approved by the Senate, but the budget deadline change is still pending before the Senate Education Committee.

Assembly Bill 4300 would eliminate the March deadline for districts that moved their elections to November and give them until May to get their budgets approved.

Similarly, the deadline for school board candidates traditionally has been in February, a few months before the April election date.

But candidates running in districts that moved their elections to November have faced a June deadline, identical to the one imposed on independents and third-party candidates running for state, county and municipal offices but five months before the election date.

Assembly Bill 3424 would change the filing deadline to 64 days before the November election date.

Proponents of both measures claim the deadline changes are needed. They say that the later budget deadline would relieve a time crunch on school district administrators and board members to meet a March deadline that is no longer applicable, and that an August deadline for board candidates could encourage more people to run for office.

“Those people who would like to run have missed the June deadline. Moving the date would permit more people to participate,” said John Burns, a lobbyist with the New Jersey School Boards Association.

Only 12 school districts in Burlington County had contested school board races this month.

Both bills were approved by the Assembly’s Education Committee and head to the full chamber for consideration.

The school board filing deadline bill has already been approved by the Senate, but the budget deadline change is still pending before the Senate Education Committee.

 

 

NJ Spotlight - Common Core Standards, Online Testing Continue to Gain Ground in NJ…Bills proposed to delay implementation find no support from administration, leaders of Senate and Assembly

John Mooney | November 26, 2013

 

While a few states are getting cold feet about the new Common Core State Standards and the online testing they entail, most New Jersey politicians are concerned chiefly about costs and are waiting -- none too patiently -- for more details from the Christie administration.

And even a pair of bills that would delay implementation of the Common Core and PARCC (Partnership for the Assessment of College and Career Readiness), its online testing component, are going nowhere fast.

That pessimistic assessment came courtesy of state Sen. Jeff Van Drew (D-Cape May), the primary sponsor of a bill that would delay the start of PARCC -- now slated for 2014-2015 -- until a task force evaluates the standards, testing, and the state's implementation.

Commenting yesterday, Van Drew said “I spoke with the commissioner about it, and legislative leaders, and in a nutshell, it will be a heavy lift at this point.”

He conceded that he doesn't see his legislation making much headway without support from the administration and the Democratic majorities of both the Senate and the Assembly.

“There seems to be some support for it, but the commissioner feels very strongly about moving forward,” Van Drew said. “That seems to be the sense of the administration, and also the majorities in the Senate and the Assembly.”

Common Core and PARCC are still being hotly debated in schools across New Jersey, as well as in other states, as the more rigorous standards and online tests are phased in.

Several states have raised a caution flag about attaching too much weight to early results of the testing.

That circumspection may be a result of what recently happened in New York state, which saw a huge drop in achievement levels under the new testing, sending chills through school districts and the politicians who represent them.

But in New Jersey, the political pushback so far has been more centered on potential costs. Democrats and Republicans alike have also asked for more information from the administration as to what implementation will require.

State Assemblyman Patrick Diegnan Jr. (D-Middlesex), chairman of the Assembly education committee, said he planned to hold a hearing on the Common Core in January that would help clarify both the costs and benefits of the new standards and testing.

“Everyone is just so confused about it,” Diegnan said yesterday in an interview. “Otherwise, you are guessing at stuff. It’s better to find out what the real problems are.”

Other Democratic legislators said they, too, have heard mostly concerns about the costs of the new standards and testing, and hoped the administration would fill in the details. While PARCC testing will be fully online once implemented, it will be up to the districts to provide the needed technology.

“The main concern has to do with resources,” said state Assemblywoman Mila Jasey (D-Essex). “They don’t have the resources to upgrade technology, to teach how to use that technology.”

Republican legislators have started ask questions as well about Common Core and PARCC, but so far have said the administration has come through with the answers.

Leading a group of 12 Republicans who sent a letter to state Education Commissioner Chris Cerf, state Sen. Joe Pennacchio (R-Morris) yesterday said that the administration has shown a willingness to provide the needed information.

“There have been a number of questions raised about [Common Core], and the difference in how the Obama and Christie administrations have responded couldn’t be farther apart,” Pennacchio said. “Once again, the Christie Administration is showing Washington how government should be run.”

 

 


Garden State Coalition of Schools
160 W. State Street, Trenton New Jersey 08608
609-394-2828