ASSEMBLY, No. 3060

STATE OF NEW JERSEY

215th LEGISLATURE

 

INTRODUCED JUNE 14, 2012

 


 

Sponsored by:

Assemblyman  PATRICK J. DIEGNAN, JR.

District 18 (Middlesex)

Assemblyman  RALPH R. CAPUTO

District 28 (Essex)

Assemblywoman  MILA M. JASEY

District 27 (Essex and Morris)

Assemblywoman  BONNIE WATSON COLEMAN

District 15 (Hunterdon and Mercer)

Assemblyman  CRAIG J. COUGHLIN

District 19 (Middlesex)

 

Co-Sponsored by:

Assemblyman O'Donnell, Assemblywoman Vainieri Huttle, Assemblymen Cryan, McKeon, Assemblywoman Stender, Assemblyman Giblin, Assemblywomen Caride and Quijano

 

 

 

 

SYNOPSIS

     Requires one additional year to acquire tenure and for certain employees also requires two effective evaluations to acquire tenure; requires binding arbitration to determine contested cases involving dismissal or compensation reduction of tenured school employees.

 

CURRENT VERSION OF TEXT

     As introduced.

  


An Act concerning school district employees, revising various parts of the statutory law, and supplementing chapter 6 of Title 18A of the New Jersey Statutes.

 

     Be It Enacted by the Senate and General Assembly of the State of New Jersey:

 

     1.    (New section)  Legislature finds and declares that:

     a.     The State of New Jersey depends upon a well-educated society.  New Jersey’s public schools play an integral role in our common welfare by developing our next generation of citizens who will contribute to a healthy, productive, and prosperous society;

     b.    Educational research clearly establishes the critical role that teachers and school leaders play in student achievement and school success;

     c.     It is critically important that New Jersey dedicate its resources and policies to attract, develop, and retain high quality candidates to the field of education to serve as teachers and school leaders; and

     d.    Therefore, it is in the public interest for the State of New Jersey to develop a fair and comprehensive system to promote educator effectiveness through:

     (1)   the proactive recruitment of talented candidates to the education profession;

     (2)   the establishment of a strong system of employee evaluation based upon professional standards of practice and multiple measures of performance;

     (3)   a commitment to the professional growth of educators through a strong investment in educator professional development with on-the-job support and peer mentoring; and

     (4)   balancing the goal of raising student achievement with the operation of a fair employment system, which recognizes the due process rights of educators concerning their employment and also promotes efficiencies in employment dispute resolution to reduce costs to the taxpayers of New Jersey.

 

     2.    N.J.S.18A:6-9 is amended to read as follows:

     18A:6-9.  The commissioner shall have jurisdiction to hear and determine, without cost to the parties, all controversies and disputes arising under the school laws, excepting those governing higher education, or under the rules of the state board or of the commissioner.  For the purposes of this Title, controversies and disputes concerning the conduct of school elections shall not be deemed to arise under the school laws.

     Notwithstanding the provisions of this section to the contrary, an arbitrator shall make the final administrative determination on a controversy and dispute arising under subarticle B of article 2 of chapter 6 of Title 18A of the New Jersey Statutes (C.18A:6-10 et seq.).

(cf: P.L.1995, c.278, s.24)

 

     3.    N.J.S.18A:6-11 is amended to read as follows:

     18A:6-11.  Any charge made against any employee of a board of education under tenure during good behavior and efficiency shall be filed with the secretary of the board in writing, and a written statement of evidence under oath to support such charge shall be presented to the board.  The board of education shall forthwith provide such employee with a copy of the charge, a copy of the statement of the evidence and an opportunity to submit a written statement of position and a written statement of evidence under oath with respect thereto. After consideration of the charge, statement of position and statements of evidence presented to it, the board shall determine by majority vote of its full membership whether there is probable cause to credit the evidence in support of the charge and whether such charge, if credited, is sufficient to warrant a dismissal or reduction of salary.  The board of education shall forthwith notify the employee against whom the charge has been made of its determination, personally or by certified mail directed to his last known address.  In the event the board finds that such probable cause exists and that the charge, if credited, is sufficient to warrant a dismissal or reduction of salary, then it shall forward such written charge to the commissioner [for a hearing pursuant to N.J.S. 18A:6-16, together with a certificate of such determination.  Provided, however, that if] or person appointed to act in the commissioner’s behalf who shall examine the charges and certification and refer the case to the Public Employment Relations Commission for assignment of an arbitrator pursuant to section 13 of P.L.  , c.   (C.   ) (pending before the Legislature as this bill) for further proceedings.  If the charge is inefficiency, prior to making its determination as to certification, the board shall provide the employee with written notice of the alleged inefficiency , specifying the nature thereto [, and allow at least 90 days in which to correct and overcome the inefficiency] in the notice and within the employee’s annual summative evaluation.  The consideration and actions of the board as to any charge shall not take place at a public meeting.

(cf: P.L.1975, c. 304, s. 1)

 

     4.    N.J.S.18A:6-13 is amended to read as follows:

     18A:6-13.  If the board does not make such a determination within 45 days after receipt of the written charge [, or within 45 days after the expiration of the time for correction of the inefficiency, if the charge is of inefficiency], the charge shall be deemed to be dismissed and no further proceeding or action shall be taken thereon.

(cf: N.J.S.18A:6-13)

 

     5.    N.J.S.18A:6-14 is amended to read as follows:

     18A:6-14.  Upon certification of any charge to the commissioner, the board may suspend  the person against whom such charge is made, with or without pay, but, if the determination of the charge by the [Commissioner of Education] arbitrator is not made within 120 calendar days after certification of the charges, excluding all delays which are granted at the request of such person, then the full salary (except for said 120 days) of such person shall be paid beginning on the one hundred  twenty-first day until such determination is made.  Should the charge be dismissed, the person shall be reinstated immediately with full pay from the first day of such suspension.  Should the charge be dismissed and the suspension be continued during an appeal therefrom, then the full pay or salary of such person shall continue until the determination of the appeal.  However, the board of education shall deduct from said full pay or salary any sums received by such employee or officers by way of pay or salary from any substituted employment assumed during such period of suspension.  Should the  charge be sustained on the original hearing or an appeal therefrom, and should such person appeal from the same, then the suspension may be continued unless and until such determination is reversed, in which event he shall be reinstated immediately with full pay as of the time of such suspension.

(cf: P.L.1971, c.435, s.2)

 

     6.    N.J.S.18A:6-16 is amended to read as follows:

     18A:6-16.  Upon receipt of such a charge and certification, or of a charge lawfully made to the commissioner, the commissioner or the person appointed to act in the commissioner's behalf in the proceedings shall examine the charges and certification.  The individual against whom the charges are certified shall have [15] 10 days to submit a written response to the charges to the commissioner.  [Upon a showing of good cause, the commissioner may grant an extension of time.]  The commissioner shall render a determination on the sufficiency of charges as set forth below within [15] 10 days immediately following the period provided for a written response to the charges.

     If, following receipt of the written response to the charges, the commissioner is of the opinion that they are not sufficient to warrant dismissal or reduction in salary of the person charged, he shall dismiss the same and notify said person accordingly.  If, however, he shall determine that such charge is sufficient to warrant dismissal or reduction in salary of the person charged, he shall within 10 days of making that determination refer the case to [the Office of Administrative Law] an arbitrator pursuant to section 13 of P.L.   , c.    (C.    ) (pending before the Legislature as this bill) for further proceedings, except that when a motion for summary decision to dismiss the charges has been made by the person charged prior to that time, the commissioner may retain the matter for purposes of deciding the motion.

(cf: P.L.1998, c.42, s.2)

 

     7.    N.J.S.18A:6-20 is amended to read as follows:

     18A:6-20.  Any party to any dispute or controversy or charged therein, may be represented by counsel at any hearing held in or concerning the same and shall have the right to testify, and produce witnesses to testify on his behalf and to cross-examine witnesses produced against him, and to have compulsory process by subpoena to compel the attendance of witnesses to testify and to produce books and documents in such hearing when issued by (a) the president of the board of education, if the hearing is to be held before such board, or (b) the commissioner, if the hearing is to be held before him or on his behalf, or (c)  the president and secretary of the State board, if the hearing is to be held before such board or before one of its committees, or (d) the chairman of the board of trustees of the State or county college or industrial school, if the hearing is to be held before such board , or (e) an arbitrator, if the hearing is to be held before such person.

     The subpoena shall be served in the same manner as subpoenas issued out of the Superior Court are served.

(cf: P.L.1994, c.48, s.50)

 

     8.    N.J.S.18A:17-2 is amended to read as follows:

     18A:17-2.  a.  Any secretary, assistant secretary, school business administrator or business manager of a board of education of any school district who has or shall have devoted his full time to the duties of his office and has or shall have served therein for three consecutive calendar years if employed prior to the effective date of P.L.   , c.   (C.    ) (pending before the Legislature as this bill) or four consecutive calendar years if employed on or after the effective date of P.L.   , c.    (C.    ) (pending before the Legislature as this bill), and

     b.    Any person holding any secretarial or clerical position or employment under a board of education of any school district or under any officer thereof, after

     1.    The expiration of a period of employment of three consecutive calendar years in the district if employed prior to the effective date of P.L.   , c.   (C.   ) (pending before the Legislature as this bill) or four consecutive calendar years if employed on or after the effective date of P.L.  , c.    (C.   ) (pending before the Legislature as this bill) or such shorter period as may be fixed by the board or  officer employing him, or

     2.    Employment for three consecutive academic years, together with employment at the beginning of the next succeeding academic year if employed prior to the effective date of P.L.   , c.   (C.   ) (pending before the Legislature as this bill) or four consecutive academic years, together with employment at the beginning of the next succeeding academic year, if employed on or after the effective date of P.L.  , c.    (C.   ) (pending before the Legislature as this bill), an academic year being the period between the time when school opens in the district after the general summer vacation and the beginning of the next succeeding summer vacation, and

     c.     Any person, who has acquired, or shall hereafter acquire, tenure in any  secretarial or clerical office, position or employment under the board of education of a school district and has been appointed district clerk or secretary, or shall hereafter be appointed secretary of said district, as such secretary,

     shall hold his office, position or employment under tenure during good behavior and efficiency and shall not be dismissed or suspended or reduced in compensation, except for neglect, misbehavior or other offense and only in the manner prescribed by subarticle B of article 2 of chapter 6 of this title.

(cf: N.J.S.18A:17-2)

 

     9.    N.J.S.18A:28-5 is amended to read as follows:

     18A:28-5. a.  The services of all teaching staff members employed prior to the effective date of P.L.  , c.    (C.   ) (pending before the Legislature as this bill) in the positions of teacher, principal, other than administrative principal, assistant principal, vice-principal, assistant superintendent, and all school nurses including school nurse supervisors, head school nurses, chief school nurses, school nurse coordinators, and any other nurse performing school nursing services, school athletic trainer and such other employees as are in positions which require them to hold appropriate certificates issued by the board of examiners, serving in any school district or under any board of education, excepting those who are not the holders of proper certificates in full force and effect and school business administrators shared by two or more school districts, shall be under tenure during good behavior and efficiency and they shall not be dismissed or reduced in compensation except for inefficiency, incapacity, or conduct unbecoming such a teaching staff member or other just cause and then only in the manner prescribed by subarticle B of article 2 of chapter 6 of this Title, after employment in such district or by such board for:

     [(a)] (1)Three consecutive calendar years, or any shorter period which may be fixed by the employing board for such purpose; or

     [(b)] (2) Three consecutive academic years, together with employment at the beginning of the next succeeding academic year; or

     [(c)] (3) The equivalent of more than three academic years within a period of any four consecutive academic years.

     b.    The services of all teaching staff members employed on or after the effective date of P.L.   , c.    (C.   ) (pending before the Legislature as this bill) in the positions of teacher, principal, other than administrative principal, assistant principal, vice-principal, assistant superintendent, and all school nurses including school nurse supervisors, head school nurses, chief school nurses, school nurse coordinators, and any other nurse performing school nursing services, school athletic trainer and such other employees as are in positions which require them to hold appropriate certificates issued by the board of examiners, serving in any school district or under any board of education, excepting those who are not the holders of proper certificates in full force and effect and school business administrators shared by two or more school districts, shall be under tenure during good behavior and efficiency and they shall not be dismissed or reduced in compensation except for inefficiency, incapacity, or conduct unbecoming such a teaching staff member or other just cause and then only in the manner prescribed by subarticle B of article 2 of chapter 6 of this Title, after employment in such district or by such board for:

     (1)   Four consecutive calendar years, or any shorter period which may be fixed by the employing board for such purpose; or

     (2)   Four consecutive academic years, together with employment at the beginning of the next succeeding academic year; or

     (3)   The equivalent of more than four academic years within a period of any five consecutive academic years.

     In order to achieve tenure pursuant to this subsection, a teacher shall complete a district mentorship program during the initial year of employment and be evaluated “effective” or “highly effective” in two annual summative evaluations by the certified supervisor.

     In order to achieve tenure pursuant to this subsection, a principal, assistant principal, or vice-principal shall complete a district residency program pursuant to N.J.A.C.6A:9-12.5 and be evaluated “effective” or “highly effective” in two annual summative evaluations by the certified supervisor.

     For the purposes of this section:

     “effective” and “highly effective” means the employee has received an annual summative evaluation rating of “effective” or “highly effective” based on the performance standards for his position established through the evaluation rubric adopted by the board of education and approved by the commissioner; and

     “certified supervisor” means an employee of a board of education qualified to perform the duties of supervision including a school district superintendent, assistant superintendent, principal, assistant principal, vice-principal, director, supervisor of instruction, or other job title that requires the employee to hold a supervisor or administrator endorsement, and who is designated by the board of education to supervise instruction and teaching staff members.

     c.     For purposes of this chapter, tenure in any of the administrative or supervisory positions enumerated herein shall accrue only by employment in that administrative or supervisory position.  Tenure so accrued shall not extend to any other administrative or supervisory position and nothing herein shall limit or restrict tenure rights which were or may be acquired pursuant to N.J.S.18A:28-6 in a position in which the individual actually served.

(cf: P.L.1999, c.87, s.3)

 

     10.  (New section)  As used in used sections 11 through 18 of P.L.    , c.    (C.    ) (pending before the Legislature as this bill):

     “Appropriate administrator” means a certified supervisor who holds an administrative certificate with a principal endorsement or a chief school administrator, and who is serving in such position and directly supervises teaching staff members in the district;

     “Certified supervisor” means an employee of a board of education qualified to perform the duties of supervision including a school district superintendent, assistant superintendent, principal, assistant principal, vice-principal, director, supervisor of instruction, or other job title that requires the employee to hold a supervisor or administrator endorsement, and who is designated by the board of education to supervise instruction and teaching staff members;

     “Corrective action plan” means a written plan developed by the certified supervisor in consultation with the teacher, principal, assistant principal, or vice-principal to address deficiencies as outlined in that employee’s evaluation.  The corrective action plan shall include timelines for corrective action and the responsibilities of the teacher, principal, assistant principal, or vice-principal and the school district for implementing the plan;

     “Multiple measures of student progress” means the results of formal and informal assessment of students which may include, but are not limited to: teacher-set goals for student learning; student performance assessments such as portfolios, projects, problem-solving protocols, and internships; observations of and discussions with students; and valid and reliable teacher-developed, standardized, and district-established assessments;

     “Professional development plan” means a written statement of goals developed by the certified supervisor, in collaboration with the teacher, that aligns with the professional standards for teachers set forth in State Board of Education regulations at N.J.A.C.6A:9-3.3; derives from the annual evaluation process; identifies professional goals that address specific individual, district, or school needs; and grounds professional development activities in objectives related to improving teaching, learning, and student achievement;

     “Professional growth plan” means a written statement developed by the certified supervisor, in collaboration with the principal, assistant principal, or vice-principal, that aligns with the professional standards for school leaders set forth in State Board of Education regulations at N.J.A.C.6A:9-3.4; derives from the evaluation process; identifies professional goals that address specific, individual, district, or school needs; and grounds professional development activities in objectives related to improving teaching, learning, and student achievement;

     “Professional standards” means the New Jersey Professional Standards for Teachers and New Jersey Standards for Teachers as incorporating the Interstate Teacher Assessment and Support Consortium (InTASC) Model Core Teacher Standards and the New Jersey Professional Standards for School Leaders as incorporating the Interstate School Leaders Licensure Consortium (ISLLC) as appropriate to each role.

 

     11.  (New section)  a.  A rating of ineffective in the annual summative evaluation of a tenured teacher, principal, assistant principal, or vice-principal shall constitute a notice of an alleged inefficiency in performance pursuant to N.J.S.18A:6-11.  The district shall institute a corrective action plan developed by the certified supervisor, in consultation with the employee, based upon the findings of the evaluation.  The employee shall be required to implement corrective action consistent with the plan under the supervision of the certified supervisor.

     b.    If a tenured teacher, principal, assistant principal, or vice-principal receives a second consecutive ineffective rating in the annual summative evaluation after a corrective action plan has been implemented for a year, the appropriate administrator may file a tenure charge against the employee with the board of education pursuant to N.J.S.18A:6-11.  If the appropriate administrator determines not to file tenure charges with the board of education, then the employee shall continue with the corrective action plan developed pursuant to this section.

     c.     If a tenured teacher, principal, assistant principal, or vice-principal receives a third consecutive ineffective rating on the annual summative evaluation after a corrective action plan has been implemented for two years, the appropriate administrator shall file a tenure charge against the employee with the board of education pursuant to N.J.S.18A:6-11.

     d.    For purposes of this section, “ineffective” means the employee receives an annual summative evaluation rating of “ineffective” based on the performance standards for his position established through the evaluation process adopted by the board of education and approved by the commissioner.

 

     12.  (New section)  a.  A board of education shall mutually develop with the majority representative and implement a research-based mentoring program that pairs effective, experienced teachers with first-year teachers to provide observation and feedback, opportunities for modeling, and confidential support and guidance in accordance with the Professional Standards for Teachers and the evaluation process.

     The mentoring program shall: enhance teacher knowledge of, and strategies related to, the core curriculum content standards in order to facilitate student achievement and growth; identify exemplary teaching skills and educational practices necessary to acquire and maintain excellence in teaching; and assist first-year teachers in the performance of their duties and adjustment to the challenges of teaching.  To the greatest extent feasible, mentoring activities shall be developed in order to be responsive to the unique needs of different teachers in different instructional settings.

     b.    A board of education shall ensure that any certified supervisor possessing a principal endorsement pursuant to State Board of Education regulations and serving in the role of principal shall complete the two-year residency program.

 

     13.  (New section)  a.  The Public Employment Relations Commission shall maintain a panel of 24 permanent arbitrators to hear matters pursuant to N.J.S.18A:6-16.  Of the 24 arbitrators, 10 arbitrators shall be designated by the New Jersey Education Association, four arbitrators shall be designated by the New Jersey Principals and Supervisors Association, and 10 arbitrators shall be designated by the New Jersey School Boards Association.  All arbitrators designated pursuant to this section shall be members of the National Academy of Arbitrators and shall have at least five years of experience in hearing matters in a school or public sector context.  The arbitrators shall register with, and receive appropriate training from, the Public Employment Relations Commission from information prepared by the Department of Education in consultation with the New Jersey Education Association, the New Jersey Principals and Supervisors Association, and the New Jersey School Boards Association.  The training program shall include information on the State evaluation process and ethics training pursuant to the School Ethics Act, P.L.1991, c.393 (C.18A:12-21 et seq.).

     b.    Upon referral of a case for arbitration, the Public Employment Relations Commission shall within 10 days provide the parties with a list of five arbitrators.  The parties are encouraged to agree to an arbitrator from the submitted list and to advise the Public Employment Relations Commission of their agreement.  If within 10 days of receiving the list of arbitrators the parties are unable to mutually agree upon the selection of an arbitrator, each party shall strike unacceptable names from the list, number the remaining names in order of preference, and return the list to the Public Employment Relations Commission.  If a party does not return the list within the time specified, all arbitrators on the list shall be deemed acceptable.  From among the arbitrators who have been mutually approved by the parties, and in accordance with the designated order of mutual preference, the Public Employment Relations Commission shall invite an arbitrator to serve.  If the parties fail to agree on any of the arbitrators listed, or if an acceptable arbitrator is unable to serve, or if for any other reason the appointment cannot be made from the submitted list, the Public Employment Relations Commission shall have the authority to make the appointment from among other members of the panel of arbitrators without the submission of additional lists.

     c.     The following provisions shall apply to a hearing conducted by an arbitrator pursuant to N.J.S.18A:6-16:

     (1)   The hearing shall be held before the arbitrator within 30 days of the assignment of the arbitrator to the case;

     (2)   The costs and expenses of the arbitrator and any administrative costs for the services of the Public Employment Relations Commission shall be borne by the State of New Jersey;

     (3)   Upon referral of the case for arbitration, the employing board of education shall provide all evidence including, but not limited to, documents, electronic evidence, statements of witnesses, and a list of witnesses with a complete summary of their testimony, to the employee or the employee’s representative, unless good cause exists to allow for the production of additional evidence or additional time.  The employing board of education shall be precluded from presenting any additional evidence at the hearing, except for purposes of impeachment of witnesses, unless a showing of good cause to the arbitrator is made.  At least 10 days prior to the hearing, the employee shall provide all evidence upon which he will rely including, but not limited to, documents, electronic evidence, statements of witnesses, and a list of witnesses with a complete summary of their testimony, to the employing board of education or its representative, unless good cause exists to allow for the production of additional evidence or additional time.  The employee shall be precluded from presenting any additional evidence at the hearing except for purposes of impeachment of witnesses, unless a showing of good cause to the arbitrator is made;

     (4)   Direct evidence as to an evaluation shall be provided to the arbitrator, absent good cause;

     (5)   All information related to the evaluation of an employee, provided to the arbitrator, shall be maintained by the school district, shall be confidential, and shall not be accessible to the public pursuant to P.L.1963, c.73 (C.47:1A-1 et seq.), as amended and supplemented.

     d.    The arbitrator shall determine the case under the American Arbitration Association labor arbitration rules.  In the event of a conflict between the American Arbitration Association labor arbitration rules and the procedures established pursuant to this section, the procedures established pursuant to this section shall govern.

     e.     Notwithstanding the provisions of N.J.S.18A:6-25 or any other section of law to the contrary, the arbitrator shall render a written decision within 60 days of the start of the hearing.

     f.     Any time limitation set forth in this section may be extended by the arbitrator upon a showing of good cause.

     g.     The decision of the arbitrator shall be a final and binding administrative decision and may not be appealed to either the Commissioner of Education or the State Board of Education.  The decision of the arbitrator shall be subject to judicial review and enforcement as provided pursuant to N.J.S.2A:24-7 through N.J.S.2A:24-10.

     h.     The Public Employment Relations Commission shall publish and maintain all written opinions rendered by an arbitrator.

 

     14.  (New section)  a.  If the decision of the arbitrator is in support of termination of the employee, the Commissioner of Education shall notify the State Board of Examiners, in writing, of the decision.

     b.    The State Board of Examiners shall only review a tenure charge case referred to an arbitrator pursuant to N.J.S.18A:6-16 if it has received notification pursuant to subsection a. of this section.

 

     15.  (New section)  Any tenure charge received by the Commissioner of Education pursuant to N.J.S.18A:6-16 prior to the effective date of P.L.   , c.   (C.    ) (pending before the Legislature as this bill), shall be determined in accordance with the provisions of subarticle B of article 2 of chapter 6 of Title 18A of the New Jersey Statutes, as the same read prior to the effective date of P.L.   , c.   (C.     ) (pending before the Legislature as this bill).

 

     16.  (New section)  a. The Commissioner of Education shall review and approve an evaluation rubric developed by a school district’s chief school administrator in consultation with the district’s tenured teachers, principals, assistant principals, and vice-principals.  The school district shall use the rubric to assess the effectiveness of its teachers, principals, assistant principals and vice-principals.  The evaluations shall be conducted by certified supervisors.   The commissioner shall ensure that an approved rubric meets the minimum standards established by the State Board of Education.

     b.    The State Board of Education shall promulgate regulations pursuant to the “Administrative Procedure Act,” P.L.1968, c.410 (C.52:14B-1 et seq.), to set standards for the approval of evaluation rubrics for teachers, principals, assistant principals, and vice-principals.  The standards at a minimum shall provide that:

     (1)   there are four defined annual rating categories for teachers, principals, assistant principals, and vice-principals: “ineffective” means the employee is deficient in meeting performance standards, “approaching effective” means the employee is in need of improvement in one or more performance standards, “effective” means the employee has satisfactorily met all performance standards, and “highly effective” means that the employee demonstrates outstanding performance;

     (2)   multiple measures of student progress are used and reviewed in conjunction with professional standards of practice using a comprehensive research and standards-based evaluation process.  Standardized assessments shall be used as a measure of student progress but shall not be the determining factor in the attainment of performance;

     (3)   each teacher, principal, assistant principal, or vice-principal evaluation is conducted by a certified supervisor using an evaluation rubric approved by the commissioner.  The rubric shall reflect professional standards, and be based upon a comprehensive review of an employee’s performance that reflects both professional standards of practice and multiple measures of student progress;

     (4)   an evaluation: promotes professional excellence and improves professional competence; identifies deficiencies; and provides a basis for the review of performance and recommendations regarding employment;

     (5)   evaluation observations occur: at least two times during the school year for a tenured teacher, principal, assistant principal, or vice-principal; and at least four times during the school year for a non-tenured teacher, principal, assistant principal, or vice-principal;

     (6)   for an announced observation, a teacher, principal, assistant principal, or vice-principal receives a pre-conference between the employee and the certified supervisor conducting the evaluation.  For all observations, an employee shall receive a post-observation conference;

     (7)   a certified supervisor consider the following in evaluating a teacher, principal, assistant principal, and vice-principal:

     (a)   school or class size and composition;

     (b)   mobility and transfer rates;

     (c)   the employee’s years of service and experience in the profession; and

     (d)   any other related factors that may impact performance, expectations, and levels;

     (8)   each teacher, principal, assistant principal, or vice-principal, who is evaluated as highly effective, effective, and approaching effective, has an annual summative conference accompanied by a written report, and an individual professional development plan or professional growth plan which is mutually developed by the teacher, principal, assistant principal, or vice-principal and the certified supervisor;

     (9)   certified supervisors who evaluate teachers, principals, assistant principals, or vice-principals are fully trained in the evaluation rubric, criteria, and procedures utilized by the district and on how to provide support through the evaluation process before evaluating a teacher, principal, assistant principal, or vice-principal;

     (10)  all teachers, principals, assistant principals, or vice-principals are trained in the evaluation rubric, criteria, and observation and mentoring model;

     (11)  the evaluation is based on the professional standards for that employee;

     (12) there is an opportunity for the employee to improve his effectiveness from routine evaluation feedback;

     (13) an ineffective rating in an annual summative evaluation triggers the preparation of a corrective action plan for the employee which addresses the specific areas needing improvement as identified in the evaluation;

     (14)  there are guidelines for school districts regarding training on the evaluation system to support its implementation;

     (15)  there is a process established by the chief school administrator for ongoing monitoring and calibration of the observations to ensure that the observation protocols are being implemented correctly and consistently;

     (16)  there is a performance framework, associated evaluation tools, and observation protocols, including training and observer calibration resources; and

     (17)  there is a process for a school district to obtain the approval of the commissioner to utilize other evaluation tools.

     c.     A school district’s evaluation rubric approved by the commissioner pursuant to this section shall not be subject to collective negotiations.

 

     17.  (New section)  a.  A board of education shall adopt an evaluation rubric approved by the commissioner by June 30, 2013.

     b.    Beginning no later than December 31, 2013, a board of education shall implement a pilot program to test and refine the evaluation rubric.

     c.     Beginning with the 2014-2015 school year, a board of education shall implement the approved, adopted evaluation rubric for all teachers, principals, assistant principals, and vice-principals in all elementary, middle, and high schools in the district.  The results of evaluations shall be used to identify and provide professional development to teachers, principals, assistant principals, and vice-principals.  The results of evaluations shall be provided to the commissioner as requested, on a regular basis.

     The commissioner shall have the authority to delay the implementation of the rubric as required pursuant to this subsection until the 2015-2016 school year.

     d.    The commissioner shall establish a model evaluation rubric that may be utilized by a school district to assess the effectiveness of its teachers, principals, assistant principals, and vice-principals.

 

     18.  (New section)  The Department of Education shall provide school districts with adequate fiscal support to implement the evaluation system, to provide training on the evaluation framework, criteria, and procedures, and to create the professional supports, mentorship programs, and other required assistance in order to effectuate the provisions of this act.

 

     19.  The following section is repealed:

     Section 1 of P.L.1998, c.42 (C.52:14B-10.1).

 

     20.  This act shall take on the 90th day after the date of enactment, but the Commissioner of Education and the Director of the Public Employment Relations Commission may take such anticipatory administrative action in advance thereof as shall be necessary for the implementations of this act.

 

 

STATEMENT

 

     Under current law, teachers, principals, and other teaching staff members whose position requires that they hold a certificate issued by the State Board of Examiners become tenured after completing three years of employment in a school district.  Current law also provides that a school board secretary, school business administrator, or any person holding a secretarial or clerical position in a school district will become tenured after completing three years of employment in a school district.  This bill provides that a person employed in any of these positions on or after the bill’s effective date will become tenured after completing four years of employment in a school district.  The bill also provides that in order to acquire tenure a teacher will additionally be required to complete a district mentorship program and be evaluated as “effective” or “highly effective” in two annual summative evaluations.  A principal, assistant principal, and a vice-principal will additionally be required to complete a district residency program and be evaluated as “effective” or “highly effective” in two annual summative evaluations in order to acquire tenure.

     Under the provisions of the bill, the Commissioner of Education will review and approve an evaluation rubric developed by a school district’s chief school administrator in consultation with the district’s tenured teachers, principals, assistant principals, and vice-principals.  The standards for the evaluation rubric are required to include: four annual rating categories – ineffective, approaching effective, effective, and highly effective; multiple measures of student progress, including standardized assessments, but these may not be the determining factor in the attainment of performance; a requirement that a certified supervisor must conduct the evaluation of a teacher, principal, assistant principal, or vice-principal and the evaluation process must be based upon a comprehensive review of an employee’s performance that reflects both professional standards of practice and multiple measures of student progress; and a requirement that evaluation observations must occur at least two times during the school year for tenured teachers, principals, assistant principals, and vice-principals and at least four times during a school year for persons in these positions who have not acquired tenure.

     Under the provisions of the bill, in the case of a tenured teacher, principal, assistant principal, or vice-principal who receives an ineffective rating on the annual summative evaluation, the district is to institute a corrective action plan developed by the certified supervisor, in consultation with the employee, based upon the findings of the evaluation.  The employee will be required to implement corrective action consistent with the plan.  If the employee receives a second consecutive ineffective rating in the annual summative evaluation after a corrective action plan has been implemented for a year, the appropriate administrator may file a tenure charge against the employee with the board of education.  If the appropriate administrator determines not to file tenure charges with the board of education, then the employee will continue with the corrective action plan.  If the employee receives a third consecutive ineffective rating after a corrective action plan has been implemented for two years, the appropriate administrator must file a tenure charge against the employee.

     This bill will also require binding arbitration for contested cases involving the dismissal or reduction in compensation of tenured employees of a school district.  These contested cases will no longer be referred to Administrative Law Judges, and the final determination on the case will no longer be made by the Commissioner of Education, which is the process under current law.  The bill provides that the Public Employment Relations Commission will maintain a panel of 24 permanent arbitrators to hear these matters.  Of the 24 arbitrators, ten will be designated by the New Jersey Education Association, four will be designated by the New Jersey Principals and Supervisors Association, and ten will be designated by the New Jersey School Boards Association.

     The Commissioner of Education will continue to determine whether or not there is a contested case.  If a determination is made that there is a contested case, the Public Employment Relations Commission will provide the parties with a list of five arbitrators.  If within 10 days of receiving the list of arbitrators the parties are unable to mutually agree upon the selection of an arbitrator, each party will strike unacceptable names from the list, number the remaining names in order of preference, and return the list to the Public Employment Relations Commission.  If a party does not return the list within the time specified, all arbitrators on the list will be deemed acceptable.  From among the arbitrators who have been mutually approved by the parties, and in accordance with the designated order of mutual preference, the Public Employment Relations Commission will invite an arbitrator to serve.  If the parties fail to agree on any of the arbitrators listed, or if an acceptable arbitrator is unable to serve, or if for any other reason the appointment cannot be made from the submitted list, the Public Employment Relations Commission will have the authority to make the appointment from among other members of the panel of arbitrators without the submission of additional lists.

     The bill provides that the hearing before the arbitrator will be held within 30 days of the assignment of the arbitrator to the case and that the arbitrator will render a decision within 60 days of the start of the hearing.  The decision of the arbitrator will be deemed final and binding, and will not be appealable to the Commissioner of Education or State Board of Education.  The bill provides for a limited number of instances in which the decision of the arbitrator will be subject to judicial review, enforcement, or vacation.

     The bill repeals certain sections of law which refer to the process pursuant to which an Administrative Law Judge would hear contested cases involving tenured school employees.