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The Ridgewood Board of Education has carefully reviewed The Teacher Effectiveness and Accountability for Children of New Jersey Act (TeachNJ). We agree that teacher effectiveness is one of the most important factors for improving student achievement.  We agree that high quality evaluations are needed to identify a teacher’s strengths and weaknesses, shape a professional development plan, and inform personnel decisions.  We support changes to the seniority system and welcome the flexibility to make personnel decisions based on students’ needs and staff expertise when budget cuts force reductions in staff.  We applaud the wording in the bill that calls for tenure charges to be “adjudicated in an expeditious and timely manner.”  However, there are two proposals in the bill that would undermine the effectiveness and efficiency of public school teacher and administrator hiring and assignments and mandate new costs for districts that are of great concern. Therefore we propose the following resolution:


Seeking Amendments to TeachNJ, S1455 To Retain Board of Education and Superintendent
Authority over Personnel Decisions

Whereas, under current law, school district hiring decisions are made based upon the recommendation of the
superintendent and the Board of Education’s approval or rejection of that recommendation; and

Whereas, the superintendent when making hiring decisions listens carefully to the perspective and input of
district supervisors and school principals; and

Whereas, the superintendent also considers district staff vacancies and resources, instructional and educational
goals, and student enrollment when recommending staff to be hired to the Board of Education; and

Whereas, TeachNJ gives sole authority to appoint or remove instructional staff to the principal, in consultation with a school improvement panel, and requires the mutual consent by the principal and teacher, assistant principal and vice principal for placement in a school.  If the principal does not consent, then the employee would be placed in a priority hiring pool.  Furthermore, the superintendent is precluded from recommending a staff member be hired or assigned to a school without the principal’s consent; and

Whereas, TeachNJ establishes a priority hiring pool requiring that staff in this pool be paid their full salary and benefits for up to 12 months when an assignment is not mutually agreed upon by the staff member and the principal; and Whereas, TeachNJ would completely remove the Board of Education and the superintendent from personnel decisions and replace the current district-focused system of teacher hiring and assignment with a system that promotes employee and school motivated hiring and assignment decisions; and

Whereas, TeachNJ would not promote cost efficiencies or effectiveness and would negatively impact the hiring and assignment practices that are focused on students’ needs and achievement; and

Whereas, TeachNJ also proposes a requirement that tenured teachers, principals, and assistant principals in
positions eliminated due to reductions in force (RIF) would be placed on paid leave of absence, with benefits
for 12 months, following a RIF, if no  mutual agreed upon assignment is identified; and

Whereas, budgetary reasons and/or declining student enrollments drive districts to eliminate positions; and

Whereas, Public schools funding has been reduced in the last few years causing staff reductions; and

Whereas, to require districts to pay full salaries and provide full benefits for 12 months to a tenured staff member who has been laid off for budgetary reasons would cause unwarranted and excessive financial burden on the school district and the local taxpayer;  Now, therefore, be it resolved, that the Ridgewood Board of Education urges the legislature to amend the TeachNJ Act to ensure that personnel hiring and placement decisions remain under the authority of the superintendent with approval of the Board of Education; and be it further

Resolved, that the Ridgewood Board of Education urges the legislature to amend the TeachNJ Act to ensure that employees whose positions are eliminated due to RIF and employees who do not have a school assignment due to lack of their or their supervisors consent are not paid their full salary with benefits for 12 months; and be it further

Resolved, that this resolution be delivered to Governor Chris Christie; State Senate President Stephen M. Sweeney; Senator Teresa Ruiz and the members of the Senate Education Committee; Assembly Speaker Sheila Y. Oliver; Assemblyman Patrick Diegnan and the members of the Assembly Education Committee; Senator Kevin O’Toole:  Assemblyman Scott Rumana; and Assemblyman David Russo; and be it further
Resolved, that copies of this resolution be sent to NJSBA, BCSBA, NJASA, NJASBO, and the Garden State Coalition of Schools

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