SENATE, No. 2577

STATE OF NEW JERSEY

215th LEGISLATURE

 

INTRODUCED FEBRUARY 21, 2013

 


 

Sponsored by:

Senator  JEFF VAN DREW

District 1 (Atlantic, Cape May and Cumberland)

Senator  ROBERT W. SINGER

District 30 (Monmouth and Ocean)

 

 

 

 

SYNOPSIS

     Requires school districts to employ a certain number of student assistance coordinators based on district enrollment.

 

CURRENT VERSION OF TEXT

     As introduced.

  


An Act concerning student assistance coordinators and amending P.L.1987, c.387.

 

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

 

     1.    Section 11 of P.L.1987, c.387 (C.18A:40A-18) is amended to read as follows:

     11.  [The Commissioner of Education, in consultation with the Commissioner of Health, shall develop and administer a program which provides for the employment of student assistance coordinators in certain school districts] A school district with a resident enrollment of 1,000 or more students shall employ full-time student assistance coordinators to ensure a ratio of no less than one student assistance coordinator for every 1,000 to 1,499 students; two student assistance coordinators for every 1,500 to 2,499 students; and one additional student assistance coordinator for every additional 1,000 students.

     A school district with less than 1,000 students may enter into an agreement with one or more other school districts to jointly employ a student assistance coordinator. A shared student assistance coordinator shall be on site at each district no less than one day per week. The decision to share a student assistance coordinator shall be made jointly by the boards of education of the districts.

     a.     [Within 90 days of the effective date of this act, the Commissioner of Education shall forward to each local school board a request for a proposal for the employment of a student assistance coordinator.  A board which wants to participate in the program shall submit a proposal to the commissioner which outlines the district's plan to provide substance abuse prevention, intervention, and treatment referral services to students through the employment of a student assistance coordinator.  Nothing shall preclude a district which employs a student assistance coordinator at the time of the effective date of this act from participating in this program.  The commissioner shall select school districts to participate in the program through a competitive grant process.  The participating districts shall include urban, suburban, and rural districts from the north, central, and southern geographic regions of the State with at least one school district per county.  In addition to all other State aid to which the local district is entitled under the provisions of P.L.2007, c.260 (C.18A:7F-43 et al.) and other pertinent statutes, each board of education participating in the program shall receive from the State, for a three-year period, the amount necessary to pay the salary of its student assistance coordinator.] Deleted by amendment, P.L.     , c.    (pending before the Legislature as this bill)

     b.    The position of student assistance coordinator shall be separate and distinct from any other employment position in the district, including, but not limited to district guidance counselors, school social workers, and school psychologists.  The State Board of Education shall approve the education and experience criteria necessary for employment as a student assistance coordinator.  The criteria shall include a requirement for certification by the State Board of Examiners. In addition to the criteria established by the State board, the Department of Education and the Department of Health shall jointly conduct orientation and training programs for student assistance coordinators, and shall also provide for continuing education programs for coordinators.

     c.     It shall be the responsibility of student assistance coordinators to assist local school districts in the effective implementation of this act.  Coordinators shall assist with the in service training of school district staff concerning substance abuse issues and the district program to combat substance abuse; serve as an information resource for substance abuse curriculum development and instruction; assist the district in revising and implementing substance abuse policies and procedures; develop and administer intervention services in the district; provide counseling services to pupils regarding substance abuse problems; and, where necessary and appropriate, cooperate with juvenile justice officials in the rendering of substance abuse treatment services.

     d.    [The Commissioner of Education, in consultation with the Commissioner of Health, shall implement a plan to collect data on the effectiveness of the program in treating problems associated with substance abuse and in reducing the incidence of substance abuse in local school districts.  Six months prior to the expiration of the program authorized pursuant to this section, the Commissioner of Education shall submit to the Governor and the Legislature an evaluation of the program and a recommendation on the advisability of its continuation or expansion to all school districts in the State.] Deleted by amendment, P.L.    , c.    (pending before the Legislature as this bill)

(cf: P.L.2012, c.17, s.83)

 

     2.    This act shall take effect immediately.

 

 

STATEMENT

 

     This bill amends current law to require school districts to employ a certain number of student assistance coordinators based on district enrollment. Under the bill, a school district with a resident enrollment of 1,000 or more students is required to ensure a ratio of no less than one student assistance coordinator for every 1,000 to 1,499 students; two student assistance coordinators for every 1,500 to 2,499 students; and one additional student assistance coordinator for every additional 1,000 students.

     The bill provides that a school district with less than 1,000 students may enter into an agreement with one or more other school districts to jointly employ a student assistance coordinator. Under the bill, a shared student assistance coordinator would be required to be on site at each district no less than one day per week. The decision to share a student assistance coordinator would be made jointly by the boards of education of the districts.