SENATE, No. 610

STATE OF NEW JERSEY

215th LEGISLATURE

 

PRE-FILED FOR INTRODUCTION IN THE 2012 SESSION

 


 

Sponsored by:

Senator  STEPHEN M. SWEENEY

District 3 (Cumberland, Gloucester and Salem)

 

Co-Sponsored by:

Senator Gordon

 

 

 

 

SYNOPSIS

     Requires executive county superintendent to designate a county special services school district, jointure commission, or educational services commission as the county education services agency to assist local school districts in sharing services.

 

CURRENT VERSION OF TEXT

     Introduced Pending Technical Review by Legislative Counsel

  


An Act concerning the establishment of education services agencies and supplementing chapter 7 of Title 18A of the New Jersey Statutes.

 

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

 

     1.    The Legislature finds and declares that:

     a.     In April 2007 the Legislature enacted P.L.2007, c.63 which established the office of the executive county superintendent of schools;

     b.    Under the provisions of P.L.2007, c.63 a local school district may apply to the executive county superintendent to have school district services including, but not limited to, transportation, personnel, purchasing, payroll, and accounting, assumed by the office of the superintendent;

     c.     The legislation provides further that the executive county superintendent may utilize county special services school districts, jointure commissions, and educational services commissions to provide services to local school boards;

     d.    County special services school districts, jointure commissions, and educational services commissions have been providing shared services to counties for many decades and are uniquely positioned to assist executive county superintendents in implementing their charge of identifying efficiencies and cost savings in the delivery of education services; and

     e.     By designating a county special services school district, a jointure commission, or an educational services commission as an education services agency for the county, the executive county superintendent would be taking a significant step in accomplishing the coordination and sharing of services among school districts which the Legislature through the CORE legislation has determined to be vitally important to the welfare of this State.

 

     2.    a. The executive county superintendent of schools shall identify in the county an education services agency.  The county special services school district, jointure commission, or educational services commission located within the county shall serve as the education services agency; except that if there is no county special services school district, jointure commission, or educational services commission located within the county, the Commissioner of Education shall designate a county special services school district, jointure commission, or educational services commission in an adjoining county to serve as the education services agency.

     b.    The funding and governance structure of a county special services school district, jointure commission, or educational services commission which is functioning as the county education services agency shall continue as currently provided under law; except that the programs and services which may be offered by the designated education services agency may include the programs and services authorized by law to be provided by a county special services school district, jointure commission, and an educational services commission regardless of which entity is designated as the education services agency.

     c.     The county education services agency shall make available to all school districts within the county a full array of programs and services including, but not limited to: behavioral, business, and case management services; county integrated preschool programs; crisis response teams; database for placement options; early intervention programs; grant writing assistance; homeless, in-district programs; migrant and itinerant instructional services; nonpublic school services and programs; outdoor and environmental education; psychiatric evaluations; public relations; residency investigations; respite programs; safe schools evaluations and support; satellite classes; SEMI coordination; substitute registry; summer school programs; technology support; therapeutic services and evaluations; transition services; transportation; and workshops and professional development activities.  An entity designated as the county education services agency shall have the capacity to offer the array of programs and services listed in this subsection or the capacity to facilitate the sharing of these programs and services by the school districts within the county.

     d.    Nothing in this act shall be construed to require a school district to avail itself of any of the programs and services of a county education services agency, including facilitating the sharing of programs and services among school districts within the county.

 

     3.    The State Board of Education shall adopt rules and regulations pursuant to the “Administrative Procedure Act,” P.L.1968, c.410 (C.52:14B-1 et seq.), necessary to effectuate the provisions of this act.

 

     4.    This act shall take effect immediately and shall first apply to the 2011-2012 school year.

 

 

STATEMENT

 

     This bill provides that the executive county superintendent of schools in each county, as a means to accomplish his responsibility to promote shared services among school districts in the county, must identify an education services agency to serve the county. The education services agency must be either a county special services school district, jointure commission, or educational services commission located in the county; except that if there is not one of these entities located in the county, the Commissioner of Education is required to designate one of these entities in an adjoining county to serve as the education services agency.

     The county education services agency will make available to school districts in the county various programs and services, including: behavioral, business and case management services; county integrated preschool programs; crisis response teams; database for placement options; early intervention programs; grant writing assistance; homeless, in-district programs; migrant and itinerant instructional services; nonpublic school services and programs; outdoor and environmental education; psychiatric evaluations; public relations; residency investigations; respite programs; safe schools evaluations and support; satellite classes; SEMI coordination; substitute registry; summer school programs; technology support; therapeutic services and evaluations; transition services; transportation; and workshops and professional development activities.  An entity designated as a county education services agency must have the capacity to offer the listed programs and services, or have the capacity to facilitate the sharing of these programs and services by the school districts within the county.

     Under the provisions of the bill the funding and governance structure of a county special services school district, jointure commission, or educational services commission which is functioning as the county education services agency will remain the same; except that the education services agency may offer the programs and services which under current law may be offered by a county special services school district, by a jointure commission, and by an educational services commission.  Since county special services school districts and educational services commissions are established under their own enabling legislation, each has its separate powers and authorities under that law.  While the law permitting the establishment of jointure commissions was repealed pursuant to the CORE legislation in 2007, existing jointure commissions were permitted to continue operating. This bill will allow whichever entity is designated as the education services agency to be able to provide the programs and services that are currently permitted to be provided by the others.