Christie Signs Bill Allowing School Elections To Be Held In November

TRENTON – On Tuesday, Governor Chris Christie signed into law legislation allowing for local school board and budget elections to be moved from April to November. The bill, passed with bipartisan support in the legislature, puts into law a tool kit proposal originally introduced by Christie in May 2010.

“After decades in Trenton of fruitlessly discussing the idea of moving school district elections to November, leaders in this state today have again demonstrated that we can get things done for the people of New Jersey when we work together,” said Christie. “This bipartisan tool kit bill finally gives real pathways for school boards or voters to move district elections to November, providing the bright prospect for both local government savings and increased voter participation in the process. With this legislation now law, I urge school board members and voters in every one of our districts to act as quickly as possible to take hold of these benefits.”

The legislation, A-4394/S-3148, establishes procedures for moving the date of a school district’s annual school election to the day of the general election in November. Under the first procedure, the date of the annual school election may be moved to November upon the adoption of a resolution by the board of education or the governing body of the municipality.

Alternatively, a ballot question would be presented to a school district’s voters for their approval if a petition is filed with the board of education, signed by not less than 15 percent of the number of legally qualified voters who voted in the district at the last presidential general election. The district would then hold a vote on the petition in the subsequent November election.

A district that has moved its annual school election to November would not require voter approval for a base budget, but any proposal to exceed the 2 percent tax levy cap would be presented for voter approval in November. District board members elected in November would take office at the beginning of January.

The primary sponsors of A-4394/S-3148 are Senators Donald Norcross (D- Camden, Gloucester), and Shirley Turner (D-Mercer), and Assemblymen Louis Greenwald (D- Camden, Gloucester), Paul Moriarty (D-Camden, Gloucester), Wayne DeAngelo (D-Mercer, Middlesex), Troy Singleton (D-Burlington, Gloucester), Jerry Green (D-Middlesex, Somerset, Union) and Jon Bramnick (R-Essex, Morris, Somerset, Union).

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1 comment for “Christie Signs Bill Allowing School Elections To Be Held In November

  1. Maureen Castriotta
    January 18, 2012 at 11:54 am

    This law clearly contributes to the continuing erosion of our rights. Taking away the people’s right to vote on school budgets is one more show of those holding political power putting limits on the public’s voice in determining education policy in their school district. With one fell swoop of his pen, Governor Christie trampled on our most precious and powerful right as citizens and virtually snuffed out the long-held ideal of direct participatory
    democracy in public education. A very, very sad moment in time for democracy.

    Maureen Castriotta, Roxbury School Board Member speaking on my own behalf and not that of the Roxbury school board

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