ROBBINSVILLE: Board opposes arbitration bill

Law would provide tenure-like protection to non-teaching staff

by James McEvoy, Managing Editor
ROBBINSVILLE — The Robbinsville Township Board of Education formally signaled their opposition to legislation that would provide tenure-like protection for non- teaching staff if it becomes law.
    The board voiced its opposition through a resolution, which was unanimously passed at the May 28 meeting.
    The bill (S-2163) passed the Assembly May 20. The Senate previously approved it in March.
   ýPage=003 Column=001 OK,0015.00þ According to the board’s resolution, the measure would require districts to enter into binding arbitration over non- renewal of employment.
    The resolution further states that “disciplinary actions” is such a broad term that it could potentially open the door to such non-renewals being considered disciplinary in nature “thereby bypassing court rulings that have consistently held that the decision not to renew fixed-term contracts of such staff does not constitute discipline.”
    In addition, “virtually any disciplinary” action including reprimands and withholding ýPage=003 Column=002 OK,0010.00þ increments would similarly be subject to such arbitration.
    The measure would cover teacher assistants, bus drivers and cafeteria aides, according to the resolution, which points to expected expenditures of time and resources of the measure as a concern.
    In addition, the resolution states the measure would place critical decisions into the hands of arbitrators who “are not accountable to the taxpayers of the community.”
    In other news, the board may also formally oppose the state School Development Authority, which is forcing districts to pay principal and inýPage=003 Column=003 OK,0010.00þ terest for construction grants it has funded over the years through increased assessments.
    According to a sample resolution crafted by the New Jersey School Boards Association, by law the SDA is only supposed to charge for administrative and “organizational” costs.
    In March when the board passed the 2013-14 $37.97 million budget Business administrator Robert DeVita explained while the district received an additional $154,758 in state aid, the net increase is actually only $109,538 due to an additional SDA assessment of $45,220.
   ýPage=003 Column=004 OK,0000.00þ ý Underset=-00003þ