ASSEMBLY, No. 5007
STATE OF NEW JERSEY
INTRODUCED FEBRUARY 7, 2019
Assemblyman BENJIE E. WIMBERLY
District 35 (Bergen and Passaic)
Establishes measures to provide employment stability for high school coaches employed in school districts.
CURRENT VERSION OF TEXT
As reported by the Assembly Education Committee on June 10, 2019, with amendments.
An Act concerning the employment rights of certain public school employees and supplementing chapter 27 of Title 18A of the New Jersey Statutes.
Be It Enacted by the Senate and General Assembly of the State of New Jersey:
1. a. (1) A head coach of an athletic activity at a public high school who is also a tenured employee of the school district 1, or is an out-of-district employee,1 shall receive an employment contract with the board of education for a term of three years 1for that particular athletic activity1 .
(2) An assistant coach of an athletic activity at a public high school who is also a tenured employee of the school district shall receive an employment contract with the board of education for a term of two years 1for that particular athletic activity1.
b. At the conclusion of the term of the initial contract or of any subsequent contract, the coach shall be deemed reappointed for another contracted term unless the board of education notifies the coach in writing that he will not be reappointed at the end of the current term, in which event his employment as a coach shall cease at the expiration of that term, provided that such notification is given 90 days prior to the expiration of the first or any subsequent contract.
2. a. A coach of an athletic activity at a public high school shall be dismissed or reduced in compensation during the term of the coach’s contract only for just cause, and may not be dismissed for arbitrary 1[or] ,1 capricious 1, or unlawful1 reasons.
b. A coach of an athletic activity at a public high school who is dismissed or reduced in compensation shall receive 1written1 notice of the basis for the dismissal or reduction in compensation 1[and have an opportunity to be heard] within five days after the decision is made by the school district official but prior to any action being taken by the board of education1. In the case of a coach of an athletic activity at a public high school who is also a tenured employee of the school district, if the dismissal is based on a poor annual evaluation, the coach shall be provided one year in which to correct and overcome any identified deficiencies with appropriate district support.
c. 1A coach of an athletic activity at a public high school who is dismissed or reduced in compensation shall be entitled to request in writing a hearing before the board of education after receiving the written notice of the basis for the dismissal or reduction in compensation pursuant to subsection b. of this section. The hearing shall take place within 10 days of the coach’s written request for a hearing unless a different date is mutually agreed upon. A coach shall be entitled to representation by counsel, to present witnesses, and to ask questions and cross examine any of the school district officials who participated in making the decision on the termination or reduction in compensation. Any testimony shall be taken under oath, and the hearing shall take place in executive session with a court reporter present. The cost of the services of the court reporter shall be paid by the school district.
d. At the regularly scheduled meeting of the board of education that follows either the receipt by the coach of the written notice of the basis for dismissal or reduction in compensation pursuant to subsection b. of this section or, if requested the hearing held pursuant to subsection c. of this section, as applicable, the board shall issue a written decision to affirm, reject, or modify the decision of the school district official who made the determination on the dismissal or reduction in compensation.
e. A decision made by a board of education pursuant to subsection d. of this section may be appealed to the Commissioner of Education no later than 90 days following receipt of the board’s written decision. A complaint may be filed with the New Jersey Division on Civil Rights within 180 days of the occurrence of any incident based on membership in a protected group as enumerated in the “Law Against Discrimination,” P.L.1945, c.169 (C.10:5-1 et seq.).
f.1 Nothing 1[is] in1 this section shall be construed to grant tenure to a coach of an athletic activity, interfere with the provisions of a collective bargaining agreement, or affect any other right or remedy that may be available to a school district or coach of an athletic activity pursuant to law 1, either civil or criminal, or create or alter any tort liability1.
3. This act shall take effect immediately and shall first be applicable to the first full school year following the date of enactment.