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URBAN HOPE BILL poised for fast track in waning days of Lame Duck - to be heard tomorrow
"Urban Hope Act" S3173 (Senator Donald Norcross)/A4426(Assemblyman Angel Fuentes): provides a process to permit authorized entities to build, operate, and manage "renaissance school projects" as public schools in no more than three identified failing districts."

This bill - already controversial, opposed by the Education Law Center, yet signed off on by the NJEA - is scheduled to be heard tomorrow in both the Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee and Assembly Budget Committee, and for the moment would be applicable only to Camden, Jersey City and Newark. Excerpt: STATEMENT for S3173 - The bill is entitled the “Urban Hope Act.” The bill authorizes the designation of three failing school districts as renaissance school districts…The bill provides that the costs of a renaissance school project, including the costs of land acquisition, site remediation, site development, design, construction, and any other costs required to place into service the school facility or facilities constituting the renaissance school projects, would be the sole expense of the nonprofit entity. However, the nonprofit entity may use State funds to pay for a lease, debt service, or mortgage for any facility constructed or otherwise acquired..."

SENATE, No. 3173

STATE OF NEW JERSEY

214th LEGISLATURE

INTRODUCED DECEMBER 15, 2011

Sponsored by:

Senator DONALD NORCROSS

District 5 (Camden and Gloucester)

SYNOPSIS

“Urban Hope Act”; provides a process to permit authorized entities to build,

operate, and manage “renaissance school projects” as public schools in no more

than three indentified failing districts.

CURRENT VERSION OF TEXT

As introduced.

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2

AN ACT concerning the development 1 of renaissance school projects

2 in failing school districts and supplementing Title 18A of the

3 New Jersey Statutes.

4

5 BE IT ENACTED by the Senate and General Assembly of the State

6 of New Jersey:

7

8 1. This act shall be known and may be cited as the “Urban

9 Hope Act.”

10

11 2. The Legislature finds and declares that:

12 a. Maintaining a thorough and efficient public school system is

13 among the Legislature’s most important responsibilities;

14 b. Although New Jersey’s per pupil public school expenditures

15 are among the highest in the nation, many of the State’s students are

16 failing to achieve the core curriculum content standards;

17 c. Many of those students are confined to a number of

18 persistently failing school districts and schools that, year after year,

19 have been unable to convert increased State aid and other resources

20 into improved student achievement, higher graduation rates, or

21 greater student readiness for postsecondary education and gainful

22 employment;

23 d. For those school districts and schools, it is necessary to

24 provide local boards of education, parents, students, and teachers

25 with more and better options for addressing their failing schools;

26 and

27 e. One such option is to create, on a limited pilot program

28 basis, “renaissance schools” which will be constructed, staffed and

29 operated by nonprofit entities, including existing charter schools, in

30 school districts with high concentrations of at-risk students.

31

32 3. As used in this act:

33 “Commissioner” means the Commissioner of Education.

34 “Failing district” means: (1) in the case of a school district

35 located in a city of the first class, a school district in which at least

36 30% of the students scored in the partially proficient range in the

37 language arts and mathematics sections of each State assessment

38 administered in the 2009-2010 school year; and (2) in the case of a

39 school district located in a city of the second class, a school district

40 in which at least 55% of the students scored in the partially

41 proficient range in the language arts and mathematics sections of

42 each State assessment administered in the 2009-2010 school year.

43 “Per pupil expenditure” means the sum of the budget year

44 equalization aid per pupil, budget year adjustment aid per pupil, and

45 the prebudget year general fund tax levy per pupil inflated by the

46 CPI rate most recent to the calculation.

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“School facility” means and includes any structure, 1 building, or

2 facility used wholly or in part for educational purposes by the

3 students of a school district.

4 “School facilities project” means the planning, acquisition,

5 demolition, new construction, improvement, or capital maintenance

6 of all or any part of one or more school facilities constituting a

7 renaissance school project.

8 “Renaissance school district” is a failing district in which

9 renaissance school projects shall be established.

10 “Renaissance school project” means a school, or group of

11 schools in a common campus setting, that provides an educational

12 program for students enrolled in grades K through 12 or in a grade

13 range less than K through 12, that is agreed to by the school district,

14 and is operated and managed by a nonprofit entity, including an

15 approved charter school, in a renaissance school district.

16

17 4. a. A nonprofit entity, in partnership with the renaissance

18 school district, may submit to the commissioner an application to

19 create a renaissance school project. A nonprofit entity seeking to

20 create a renaissance school project shall have experience in

21 operating a school in a high-risk, low-income urban district.

22 b. The application shall be in a form prescribed by the

23 commissioner, but at a minimum it shall contain the following:

24 (1) a resolution adopted in a public meeting by the board of

25 education of the renaissance school district in which the renaissance

26 school project will be located certifying the support of the board for

27 the application;

28 (2) a resolution adopted by the board of education of the

29 renaissance school district amending the district’s long-range

30 facilities plan to include the proposed renaissance school project,

31 and the amendment which has been submitted to the commissioner

32 pursuant to section 4 of P.L.2000, c.72 (C.18A:7G-4);

33 (3) the educational goals of the renaissance school project, the

34 curriculum to be offered, and the methods of assessing whether

35 students are meeting the proffered educational goals;

36 (4) any testing and academic performance standards to be

37 mandated by the renaissance school project beyond those required

38 by State law and regulation;

39 (5) the admission policy and criteria for evaluating the

40 admission of students to the renaissance school project, which shall

41 comply with the provisions of section 8 of this act;

42 (6) the age or grade range of students to be enrolled in the

43 renaissance school project;

44 (7) the total number of students to be enrolled in each grade

45 level of the renaissance school project;

46 (8) the renaissance school project calendar and school day

47 schedule;

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(9) the financial plan for the renaissance sc 1 hool project and the

2 provisions that will be made for auditing pursuant to N.J.S.18A:23-

3 1;

4 (10) a description of, and address for, the school facility or

5 facilities in which the renaissance school project will be located;

6 (11) documentation that the proposed renaissance school project

7 meets the facilities efficiency standards developed by the

8 commissioner pursuant to subsection h. of section 4 of P.L.2000,

9 c.72 (C.18A:7G-4), and any school facility regulations promulgated

10 by the State Board of Education or the Department of Community

11 Affairs;

12 (12) documentation of the funds available to construct the

13 renaissance school project, including the terms of any financing

14 secured for such purpose;

15 (13) if the renaissance school project includes the acquisition of

16 land, the application shall include, at a minimum: (a) a description

17 of the land to be acquired; (b) the costs of acquisition; (c) the

18 timetable for acquisition; and (d) the plan for financing the

19 acquisition;

20 (14) identification of the attendance area of the renaissance

21 school project, if the renaissance school project will not be built on

22 land owned by the New Jersey Schools Development Authority or

23 the renaissance school district; and

24 (15) such other information as the commissioner may require.

25

26 5. The commissioner may not approve more than four

27 renaissance school projects in any one renaissance school district.

28 Nothing in this act shall prohibit a renaissance school project that

29 provides an educational program for a grade range less than K

30 through 12 from expanding grade levels after the approval by the

31 commissioner of the initial application.

32 In reviewing and judging applications for renaissance school

33 projects, the factors considered by the commissioner may include,

34 but not be limited to:

35 a. The likelihood that the renaissance school project will

36 improve academic achievement in the renaissance school district;

37 b. The strength of the support for the renaissance school project

38 from the school district, board of education, and parents;

39 c. The facilities plan for the renaissance school project;

40 d. Geographic diversity and diversity of school type,

41 elementary school, middle school, and high school, among the

42 proposed renaissance school projects; and

43 e. Any other factors deemed significant by the commissioner.

44

45 6. The nonprofit entity and the board of education of the

46 renaissance school district in which the renaissance school project

47 will be located shall enter into a contract setting forth the terms and

48 conditions for the renaissance school project including, but not

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limited to, the operation, management, 1 and funding of the

2 renaissance school project. The contract shall be submitted to the

3 commissioner for approval.

4

5 7. a. Notwithstanding that a renaissance school project shall be

6 constructed, controlled, operated, and managed by a nonprofit

7 entity, and not the local board of education, it shall be a public

8 school. However nothing contained herein shall restrict a for-profit

9 entity from constructing a renaissance school project, or a

10 renaissance school project from being located on land owned by a

11 for-profit entity. Further, the renaissance school project shall be

12 authorized to retain any business entity, however formed, whose

13 primary purpose is the staffing, operation, and management of

14 elementary schools, middle schools, or high schools in the United

15 States, except as it relates to instructional services.

16 b. The costs of a renaissance school project including, but not

17 limited to, the costs of land acquisition, site remediation, site

18 development, design, construction, and any other costs required to

19 place into service the school facility or facilities constituting the

20 renaissance school project shall be at the sole expense of the

21 nonprofit entity. The nonprofit entity may use State funds to pay

22 for a lease, debt service, or mortgage for any facility constructed or

23 otherwise acquired.

24 c. Notwithstanding the provisions of the “Educational

25 Facilities Construction and Financing Act,” P.L.2000, c.72

26 (C.18A:7G-1 et al.), or any other law or regulation to the contrary,

27 there shall be no State share for the costs of a renaissance school

28 project.

29 d. Notwithstanding the provisions of the “Public School

30 Contracts Law,” P.L.1977, c.114 (C.18A:18A-1 et seq.), or any

31 other law or regulation to the contrary, the nonprofit entity or any

32 entity acting in cooperation with a renaissance school project shall

33 not be subject to public bidding for goods and services, and any

34 contracts entered into by the nonprofit entity shall not be deemed

35 public contracts or public works; except that any contract entered

36 into by the nonprofit entity or any entity acting in cooperation with

37 a renaissance school project shall be deemed a public work for the

38 purposes of the "New Jersey Prevailing Wage Act," P.L.1963, c.150

39 (C.34:11-56.25 et seq.), and subject to the applicable provisions of

40 that act.

41 e. The renaissance school district in which a renaissance school

42 project is located shall pay to the nonprofit entity in 12 equal

43 monthly installments an amount per pupil equal to 95% of the

44 district’s per pupil expenditure. In addition the 12 monthly

45 installments shall include the security categorical aid attributable to

46 the student, a percentage of the district's special education

47 categorical aid equal to the percentage of the district's special

48 education students enrolled in the renaissance school project, and if

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applicable 100% of preschool education aid. 1 The district shall also

2 pay directly to the renaissance school project any federal funds

3 attributable to the student.

4 f. Renaissance school projects shall be required to meet the

5 same testing and academic performance standards established by

6 law and regulation for public school students, and shall meet any

7 additional testing and academic performance standards established

8 by the nonprofit entity and approved by the commissioner.

9 g. The nonprofit entity shall have complete discretion in

10 naming the renaissance school project. The nonprofit entity may

11 not realize a net profit from its operation of a renaissance school

12 project. A private or parochial school shall not be eligible for

13 renaissance school project status.

14 h. A nonprofit entity shall operate a renaissance school project

15 in accordance with the contract entered into pursuant to section 6 of

16 this act, the provisions of this act, and the laws and regulations that

17 govern other public schools which are not inconsistent with this act.

18

19 8. a. In the case of a renaissance school project built on land

20 owned by the New Jersey Schools Development Authority or the

21 renaissance school district, students residing in the attendance area

22 established by the renaissance school district for that property shall

23 be automatically enrolled in the renaissance school project. The

24 parent or guardian of the student may determine not to enroll the

25 student in the renaissance school project, and in that case the

26 student shall be eligible for enrollment in another school in the

27 renaissance school district. If spaces remain available in the

28 renaissance school project, students shall be selected for the

29 remaining spaces through a lottery system. The first lottery shall

30 include students who attend a public school in the renaissance

31 school district but reside outside the attendance area of the

32 renaissance school. If space remains available, a second lottery

33 shall be conducted that may include students who reside outside of

34 the renaissance school district.

35 b. In the case of a renaissance school project which is not built

36 on land owned by the New Jersey Schools Development Authority

37 or the renaissance school district, preference for enrollment in the

38 renaissance school project shall be given to students who reside in

39 the attendance area identified in the application submitted by the

40 nonprofit entity and approved by the commissioner for the

41 renaissance school project. In no case may an attendance area

42 include an area outside of the renaissance school district. If spaces

43 remain available in the renaissance school project, then the

44 renaissance school project may select students for the remaining

45 spaces through a lottery system.

46 In developing and executing its selection process, the nonprofit

47 entity shall not discriminate on the basis of intellectual or athletic

48 ability, measures of achievement or aptitude, status as a

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handicapped person, proficiency in 1 the English language, or any

2 other basis that would be illegal if used by a school district. A

3 nonprofit entity may, however, limit admission to a particular grade

4 level or levels consistent with its organizational document.

5

6 9. a. The employees of a renaissance school project shall not

7 be deemed to be members of the bargaining unit of the renaissance

8 school district.

9 b. In hiring its employees for a renaissance school project, a

10 nonprofit entity shall be subject to the provisions of the “New

11 Jersey Employer-Employee Relations Act,” P.L.1941, c.100

12 (C.34:13A-1 et seq.). A nonprofit entity shall not set a teacher

13 salary lower than the minimum teacher salary specified pursuant to

14 section 7 of P.L.1985, c.321 (C.18A:29-5.6).

15 c. All principals, administrators, classroom teachers, and

16 professional support staff hired by a nonprofit entity to work in a

17 renaissance school project shall hold appropriate New Jersey

18 certifications and shall possess all the tenure rights as employees of

19 a board of education of a school district as provided in Title 18A

20 and other laws and regulations.

21

22 10. a. The renaissance school project shall be authorized for 10

23 years from the date of opening, subject to periodic reviews by the

24 commissioner. The renaissance school project shall be

25 automatically renewed for additional five year periods provided

26 there is not a breach of the agreement that outlines the terms and

27 conditions of the renaissance school project.

28 Every ten years, prior to granting a renewal, the commissioner

29 shall conduct a comprehensive review of the renaissance school

30 project. Renewal shall be presumed where the renaissance school

31 project’s average percent of students proficient on the New Jersey

32 Assessment of Skills and Knowledge, if the school includes any

33 grades from three to eight, or on the New Jersey High School

34 Proficiency Assessment, if the school includes grades 11 and 12,

35 exceed the average percent of students proficient for the renaissance

36 school district in which it is located in like grades by 15 percent or

37 more in language arts literacy, mathematics, or both after five years,

38 and 25 percent or more in language arts literacy, mathematics, or

39 both after ten years, or achieves the State-level proficiency

40 standards during that period.

41 b. The commissioner shall periodically assess whether each

42 renaissance school project is meeting its goals and improving

43 student achievement. In order to facilitate the commissioner’s

44 review, each renaissance school project shall submit an annual

45 report to the commissioner in the form prescribed by the

46 commissioner. The report shall be received annually by August 1

47 and shall be made publicly available immediately thereafter,

48 including on the Department of Education’s website.

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c. The commissioner shall have on-1 going access to the records

2 and facilities of the renaissance school project and the nonprofit

3 entity to ensure that the renaissance school project is in compliance

4 with its organizational document and with State laws and

5 regulations.

6 d. Five years following the date of the opening of the first

7 renaissance school project, a review of the efficacy of the program

8 shall be conducted by an independent education researcher or

9 research organization selected by the commissioner, with the

10 approval of the State Board of Education. The independent review

11 shall be funded by the Department of Education. The review shall

12 include interviews with staff, parents, and resident district

13 representatives, and a fiscal and educational assessment. The

14 commissioner shall report the results of the review to the Governor,

15 the State Board of Education, and to the Legislature as provided

16 pursuant to section 2 of P.L.1991, c.164 (C.52:14-19.1), and, in

17 addition, the Governor shall report on the efficacy of the

18 renaissance school projects in educating students and whether

19 additional renaissance school districts should be authorized and, if

20 so, how many. The commissioner shall also recommend any

21 changes to this act deemed appropriate based on experience with the

22 renaissance school projects and the independent review.

23

24 11. a. Notwithstanding the provisions of the “Educational

25 Facilities Construction and Financing Act,” P.L.2000, c.72

26 (C.18A:7G-1 et al.), or any other law or regulation to the contrary,

27 when an entity seeks to build a renaissance school project on land

28 owned by the New Jersey Schools Development Authority, the

29 authority may convey the land by ground lease or fee simple title to

30 either the renaissance school district or the entity if the authority

31 determines conveyance to be in the best interests of the State,

32 provided that such conveyance, whether by ground lease or fee

33 simple title shall (1) contain a restriction that the land be used

34 solely for a school or it shall revert to the authority; and (2) be for

35 such consideration and on such terms as the authority determines to

36 be in the best interests of the State.

37 b. Notwithstanding any other law to the contrary, in the event

38 of a conveyance by the authority to a renaissance school district

39 pursuant to this section, the renaissance school district is authorized

40 to enter into a sub-lease of the property to the entity as required to

41 effectuate the renaissance school project. The sub-lease shall be

42 submitted to the commissioner for his review and approval. The

43 sub-lease shall contain a restriction that the land be used solely for

44 the renaissance school project or it shall revert to the school district.

45

46 12. Whenever any board of education shall by resolution

47 determine that any tract of land is no longer desirable or necessary

48 for school purposes it may authorize the conveyance thereof, for a

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nominal consideration, to a renaissance 1 school project established

2 pursuant to P.L. , c. (C. ) (pending before the Legislature as this

3 bill). The president and secretary of the board shall be authorized

4 to execute and deliver a conveyance for the same in the name and

5 under the seal of the board, which conveyance shall be subject to a

6 condition providing that the land shall be used by the renaissance

7 school project for school purposes, and in the event that the

8 property shall cease to be used for those purposes, the property shall

9 thereupon revert to and the title thereof shall vest in the board of

10 education making the conveyance thereof hereunder.

11

12 13. a. Notwithstanding the provisions of N.J.S.18A:24-10 or

13 any other section of law to the contrary, under the pilot program the

14 board of education of a Type II school district without a board of

15 school estimate may issue bonds without the approval of the voters

16 of the district in order to finance the construction of a renaissance

17 school project. In the case of a Type I district or a Type II district

18 with a board of school estimate, notwithstanding the provisions of

19 N.J.S.18A:24-11, N.J.S.18A:24-12, or any other section of law to

20 the contrary, such bonds may be issued by the municipality without

21 the approval of the board of school estimate or the adoption of a

22 municipal ordinance as applicable. In the case of a school district

23 under full State intervention or partial State intervention in which

24 the governance component of school district effectiveness has not

25 been returned to the district, notwithstanding the provisions of

26 P.L.1991, c.139 (C.18A:7A-46.1 et seq.) or any other section of law

27 to the contrary, such bonds may be issued without the approval of

28 the capital projects review board.

29 The issuance of the bonds shall be approved by the board of

30 education of the renaissance school district, or the State district

31 superintendent in the case of a school district under full State

32 intervention or partial State intervention in which the governance

33 component has not been returned to the district. The approval shall

34 be evidenced by the adoption of a resolution by the board of

35 education in a public meeting upon an affirmative vote of two36

thirds of its full membership certifying the support of the board for

37 the issuance of the bonds, or if the school district is under full or

38 partial State intervention and the governance component has not

39 been returned to the district, a certification, affidavit, or other sworn

40 statement signed by the State district superintendent supporting the

41 issuance.

42 b. Notwithstanding the provisions of any other law to the

43 contrary, a county or county improvement authority may issue

44 bonds in order to finance the construction of a renaissance school

45 project.

46 c. Notwithstanding the provisions of N.J.S.18A:22-20,

47 N.J.S.18A:22-30, or any other section of law to the contrary, the

48 principal and interest payments on the bonds issued pursuant to this

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section shall be paid by the board of 1 trustees of the renaissance

2 school. The board of education, the State district superintendent,

3 the municipality, the county, or the county improvement authority,

4 as applicable, shall enter into an agreement with the board of

5 trustees of the renaissance school for the payment of the principal

6 and interest. The agreement shall include the total amount of

7 bonded indebtedness to be repaid, the schedule of required debt

8 service payments, and the amount of each individual payment. The

9 commissioner shall approve any agreement entered into pursuant to

10 this section prior to the issuance of the bonds.

11 d. Bonds issued by a school district, municipality, or county to

12 finance a renaissance school project pursuant to this section, shall

13 be entitled to the benefits of the “New Jersey School Bond Reserve

14 Act,” P.L.1980, c.72 (C.18A:56-17 et seq.).

15 e. The provisions of P.L.1969, c.130 (C.18A:24-61.1 et seq.)

16 shall be applicable to bonds issued pursuant to this section.

17 f. In the event the authorization to operate a renaissance school

18 project is terminated or expires for any reason, title to the

19 renaissance school project shall revert to the board of education of

20 the renaissance school district and any bonds issued to finance the

21 project shall be eligible for State debt service aid.

22

23 14. The Commissioner of Education, pursuant to the

24 “Administrative Procedures Act,” P.L.1968, c.410 (C.52:14B-1 et

25 seq.) shall adopt regulations to effectuate the purposes of this act;

26 except that, notwithstanding any provision of P.L.1968, c.410

27 (C.52:14B-1 et seq.), to the contrary, the commissioner may adopt,

28 immediately upon filing with the Office of Administrative Law,

29 such regulations as the commissioner deems necessary to

30 implement the provisions of this act, which regulations shall be

31 effective for a period not to exceed 12 months and may, thereafter,

32 be amended, adopted, or readopted by the commissioner in

33 accordance with the requirements of P.L.1968, c.410 (C.52:14B-1

34 et seq.).

35

36 15. This act shall take effect immediately.

37

38

39 STATEMENT

40

41 The bill is entitled the “Urban Hope Act.” The bill authorizes

42 the designation of three failing school districts as renaissance

43 school districts. A “failing district” is defined in the bill as: (1) in

44 the case of a school district located in a city of the first class, a

45 school district in which at least 30% of the students scored in the

46 partially proficient range in the language arts and mathematics

47 sections of each State assessment administered in the 2009-2010

48 school year; and (2) in the case of a school district located in a city

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of the second class, a school district 1 in which at least 55% of the

2 students scored in the partially proficient range in the language arts

3 and mathematics sections of each State assessment administered in

4 the 2009-2010 school year. Under this definition, the Newark

5 School District, the Jersey City School District, and the Camden

6 School District would be “failing districts.”

7 Under the provisions of the bill, one or more nonprofit entities,

8 with the approval of the board of education, may apply to the

9 commissioner to create up to a total of four renaissance school

10 projects in a renaissance school district. A renaissance school

11 project is defined as a school, or group of schools in a common

12 campus setting, that provides an educational program for students

13 enrolled in grades K through 12 or in a grade range less than K

14 through 12, that is agreed to by the school district, and is operated

15 and managed by a nonprofit entity, including an approved charter

16 school, in a renaissance school district.

17 The bill provides that the costs of a renaissance school project,

18 including the costs of land acquisition, site remediation, site

19 development, design, construction, and any other costs required to

20 place into service the school facility or facilities constituting the

21 renaissance school projects, would be the sole expense of the

22 nonprofit entity. However, the nonprofit entity may use State funds

23 to pay for a lease, debt service, or mortgage for any facility

24 constructed or otherwise acquired.

25 If an entity seeks to build a school facility on land owned by the

26 Schools Development Authority, the bill provides that the authority

27 may convey the land to either the renaissance school district or the

28 entity. The conveyance must (1) contain a restriction that the land

29 must be used solely for a school or it will revert to the authority;

30 and (2) be for such consideration and on such terms as the authority

31 determines to be in the best interests of the State.

32 Under the provisions of the bill, whenever a board of education

33 determines that any tract of land is no longer desirable or necessary

34 for school purposes it may authorize the conveyance, for a nominal

35 consideration, to a renaissance school project. If the property

36 ceases to be used for school purposes by the renaissance school

37 project, the property would revert to the board of education.

38 Under the provisions of the bill, the renaissance school district

39 would pay annually to the nonprofit entity an amount per pupil

40 equal to 95% of the district’s per pupil total expenditure. “Per pupil

41 expenditure” is defined as the sum of the budget year equalization

42 aid per pupil, budget year adjustment aid per pupil, and the

43 prebudget year general fund tax levy per pupil inflated by the CPI

44 rate most recent to the calculation. The renaissance school district

45 would also pay to the renaissance school project the security

46 categorical aid attributable to the student, a percentage of the

47 district's special education categorical aid equal to the percentage of

48 the district's special education students enrolled in the renaissance

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school project, and if applicable 1 100% of preschool education aid.

2 The district would also pay directly to the renaissance school

3 project any federal funds attributable to the student.

4 All principals, administrators, classroom teachers, and

5 professional support staff must hold the appropriate certifications.

6 The bill states that a renaissance school project is a public

7 school. The bill further provides that nothing contained in the bill,

8 however, would restrict a for-profit entity from constructing a

9 renaissance school project, or a renaissance school project from

10 being located on land owned by a for-profit entity. The bill also

11 provides that the renaissance school project is authorized to retain

12 any business entity whose primary purpose is the staffing,

13 operation, and management of schools in the United States, except

14 as it relates to instructional services.

15 Under the provisions of the bill, a nonprofit entity or any entity

16 acting in cooperation with the renaissance school project is not

17 subject to the public bidding requirements for goods and services

18 and any contract entered into by the nonprofit entity is deemed not

19 to be a public contract or a public work. The bill states, however,

20 that a contract entered into by the nonprofit entity or any entity

21 acting in cooperation with the renaissance school project is a public

22 work for the purposes of the "New Jersey Prevailing Wage Act"

23 and subject to the applicable provisions of that act.

24 A renaissance school project approved under the provisions of

25 the bill, would be authorized for 10 years. The commissioner must

26 annually assess whether each renaissance school project is meeting

27 certain goals and improving student achievement. In order to

28 facilitate this assessment, each renaissance school project, through

29 its nonprofit entity, must submit an annual report to the

30 commissioner.

31 Five years following the date of the opening of the first

32 renaissance school project, a review of the efficacy of the program

33 must be conducted by an independent education researcher or

34 research organization. The costs of the independent review will be

35 borne by the department. The commissioner must report the results

36 of the review. He must also report on the efficacy of the schools in

37 educating students and whether additional renaissance school

38 districts should be authorized and, if so, how many.

39 The bill authorizes the board of education of a Type II school

40 district to issue bonds without voter approval to finance the

41 construction of a renaissance school project. In the case of a Type

42 II district with a board of school estimate or a Type I district, bonds

43 may be issued without the approval of the board of school estimate

44 or the adoption of a municipal ordinance, as applicable. The bill

45 also authorizes a county or county improvement authority to issue

46 bonds to finance the construction of a renaissance school project.

47 These bonds would not be supported through local tax levy, but

48 rather the board of education, the State district superintendent, the

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municipality, the county, or the county improvement 1 authority, as

2 applicable, would enter into an agreement with the board of trustees

3 of the renaissance school project for the payment of the principal

4 and interest on the bonds in accordance with a schedule of

5 payments to be made by the renaissance school project. The

6 commissioner would have to approve each such agreement.

7 Bonds issued by a school district, municipality, or county to

8 finance a renaissance school project will be entitled to the benefits

9 of the “New Jersey School Bond Reserve Act.” The school bond

10 reserve is pledged by law to secure payments of principal and

11 interest due on bonds issued for school purposes in the event of the

12 inability of the issuer to make payment


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