Governor Signs Bill Extending Deadline For School Board Candidates To File Petitions

Gov. Chris Christie

Gov. Chris Christie

TRENTON — Gov. Chris Christie signed legislation on Friday that extends the deadline for November school board candidacy and makes other important changes in the school election process.

“Governor Christie’s quick action will enable the new candidacy timeline to go into effect in 2014, rather than the following year,” said Dr. Lawrence S. Feinsod,  executive director of the New Jersey School Boards Association. “By moving the filing deadline for school board positions, which are non-partisan, closer to the General Election, the legislation should encourage more citizens to seek school board candidacy.”

S-2086/A-3424 received final legislative approval on Dec. 19. If the Governor had waited until 2014 to sign the bill, the new election timelines would not have gone into effect until 2015.

The legislation moves the deadline for filing nominating petitions for school board candidacy in the November General Election from the date of the June primary to the last Monday in July. More than 500 local school districts elect board of education members in November.

The bill also accomplishes a legislative goal set by the NJSBA Delegate Assembly in May 2013. It would require municipal governing bodies considering a change in the school election date to provide the affected school board with adequate notice of the meeting at which the resolution is scheduled for a vote. A 2012 statute allows communities to change the election date from April to November (or vice versa) through a local school board resolution, a municipal governing body resolution, or a voter referendum.

The legislation also clears up an ambiguity related to the appointment of individuals to fill vacant school board positions in November election districts. S-2086/A-3424 sets a firm timeline for determining the length of service of those individuals appointed to fill the vacancies. For example, in 2014, if a vacancy were filled after the third Monday in July (i.e., July 21), the appointee would serve until the board’s January 2016 organizational meeting. If the vacant seat were filled prior to July 21, 2014, the unexpired term would appear on the November 2014 election ballot.

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